Browsing Archives of Author »Catherine Musemeche«

Survivors: Our Newest Patients

November 5, 2013


Sudden death. We see it every day in the emergency room, the ICU, on the trauma service. A patient comes in and no matter what we do we are going to lose him within minutes or maybe hours. What we do next could have a lifelong impact on that patient’s survivors. But why? Our patient […]

The Corpse Leads, We Follow: Medical Intervention at the End of Life

January 10, 2013


Those of us who labor in the techno-confused trenches of American medicine need little reminder of how the profit driven machine seems to ramp up the closer a person is to death. We’ve counted the twenty drips hung around the patient in ICU Bed 2, glittering and glowing like the control panel of a jet […]

Conversations That Matter

September 6, 2012


Every day I am confronted by the snarl of technology-gone-awry known as the American system of healthcare. The good news is we have the best healthcare technology available. The bad news is we don’t always know how or when to use these expensive tools, particularly at the end of life. This is why the mission […]

End of Life Paperwork: Should you hire a consultant?

June 18, 2012


Jane Brody’s recent article on advanced healthcare directives in the New York Times gave voice to something I’ve been wondering for a long time. These forms have gotten increasingly complex over the years. I know because more and more friends, relatives and relatives of friends are sending them to me to review. Can anyone who is […]

Plan On a Messy Ending

June 10, 2012


As we all know, we can’t script the end of our lives, choose the time, date or even the disease that will kill us. What we can plan is how much medical intervention is heaved our way in the final days when our families are overcome by grief and possibly confusing and conflicting information. But […]

Psychedelics Make a Comeback in Treating End of Life Anxiety

April 25, 2012


What would you do if you were given six months to live and with each passing day you felt your world closing in around you, your options limited, your days relentlessly ticking by? Would you drop acid? You might if you were being treated by a really progressive psychiatrist. After transcendent experiences, those induced by […]

Dying at Home: Progress Made But More to Be Done

April 18, 2012


Paula Span reports in today’s NYT, that the percentage of the elderly dying in hospitals has dropped while the percentage of those dying at home has risen to 19%. What is not clear is whether the elderly are able to avoid a “burdensome transition” in their final days — transfers in the last three days […]

The Dying Alone Dilemma: Is It Such a Bad Ride?

April 11, 2012


In this NYT Op-Ed piece Kumiko Makihara reveals her fears of dying alone in a high-rise in Japan where she doesn’t know her neighbors. The close-knit communities of post-Katrina New Orleans, like those of post-earthquake Japan, were forever changed in the wake of natural catastrophe. Friends and neighbors who regularly checked on my 81-year-old uncle never […]

How Dead is Dead? End-of-Life Decisions and Organ Donation

March 28, 2012


One of the most important decisions a family member may face at the end of a loved one’s life is whether to donate organs for transplantation. As a pediatric surgeon I’m all in favor of organ transplantation and have participated in pediatric liver, kidney and heart transplants. Recently, however, I came across an NPR piece that […]