Docs no more comfortable with their own mortality than general population

Caregiver

Doctors have a double-standard when it comes to end-of-life care, according to Daniel Marchalik, M.D., a District of Columbia-based urologist.

While physicians recommend to their patients that they have living wills, advance directives and discuss their wishes with loved ones, Marchalik writes in The Washington Post that he and most of his fellow doctors don’t practice what they preach.

The reason doctors don’t take their own advice is many don’t think that catastrophic events and even sudden death can impact their own lives--unlike their patients, he writes.

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Still, he reasons that physicians are also mere human beings who don’t want to come to terms with their own mortality, and there’s no reason they should be more likely than people in other professions to discuss their end-of-life wishes with their friends and family.

Yet it appears that physicians are less likely to die in hospitals or receive intense end-of-life care than non-physicians. And here’s the likely reason: Because of their day jobs, doctors are only too aware of the financial burden and the futility of intense end-of-life care.

- read the commentary
 

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