Browsing All Posts filed under »physicians«

Survivors: Our Newest Patients

November 5, 2013 by


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 by


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 […]

“Embrace the tragedy.” An interview with Larry Cripe

October 12, 2012 by


Larry Cripe is a leukemia specialist who researches physician-patient communication and medical decision-making. He also writes for Grace Notes, a radio essay series. His essays have appeared in JAMA. In his essay, “The General,” Cripe remembers the difficulties he’s faced and the relationships he formed during his career as an oncologist. Interview conducted by Jasmine […]

Conversations That Matter

September 6, 2012 by


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 by


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 by


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 […]

Seeing Things That Other People Can’t See: An interview with Catherine A. Musemeche

May 7, 2012 by


In “Wake-Up Call,” pediatric surgeon and attorney Catherine A. Musemeche recounts the emergency of her mother’s ruptured aneurysm from dual perspectives, as a medical professional who is also a concerned daughter. Musemeche has numerous scientific publications;“Wake-Up Call” is her first published creative nonfiction. Interview conducted by Chad Vogler. *** How did you come to write […]

“How do you say, ‘I killed somebody today’?”: An Interview with Gulchin A. Ergun

April 26, 2012 by


Gulchin A. Ergun is a clinician educator, the clinical service chief of gastroenterology and the medical director of the Digestive Disease Department, Reflux Center and GI Physiology Lab at The Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas. In “Twelve Breaths a Minute”—her first published essay—Ergun recalls her first experience, while working as an ICU intern, of being […]

Psychedelics Make a Comeback in Treating End of Life Anxiety

April 25, 2012 by


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 […]

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

April 11, 2012 by


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 […]