Tag: end-of-life care

Lindsay Boyers Lindsay Boyers (3 Posts)

Contributing Writer Emeritus

Georgetown University School of Medicine

Lindsay Boyers is a medical student at Georgetown University School of Medicine with an interest in dermatology. She graduated magna cum laude from University of California Santa Barbara in 2009 with a degree in Communications and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She enjoys both clinical medicine and research, having taken a year to conduct research at the University of Colorado in the department of dermatology. She enjoys the arts, especially painting and writing, and spending time with her family in Colorado.

No Words

She had not been home in at least three days. She sat motionless, shoulders slumped, arms draped limply over her lap. I couldn’t tell if she had nodded off. The wrinkles of her clothes seemed to blend into the lines of her face, stuck in a soft, yet permanent frown. The red of her blouse appeared faint against her pallid skin, as if exhaustion had sapped everything it could from her being, and had moved …

Take Back the Conversation on End-of-Life Care

The epicenter of the debate surrounding costs and utilization of health care is on end-of-life care. A full one-third of Medicare expenditures are spent on chronic illness patients in the last two years of life. For perspective, consider this graph: our costs of care are comparable to those of European countries for the first five decades of life, but we spend twice as much on people in their sixties, thrice as much on people in their seventies, and over four …

The Inevitable

I watched the hospital room in its trickling display of lights—infusions, a ventilator and a monitor with its unrelenting beeping noises. This is what I had come to know of the intensive care unit. As doctors, we are told that we must live and work detached from our patients because emotions can cloud our judgement. But it is difficult to separate emotions when a patient who lies in a bed could be someone’s mother,  someone’s wife or …

After Abraham

The nurse cracked open the door to say, “You have a visitor here to see you.” Abraham’s mother nodded, and the nurse turned to me in the hallway with words of permission to enter. I did so, hesitantly. The room was dimly lit by sunlight fighting its way through soggy clouds to shine on the window. The walls were covered with action heroes sprinting to save lives, while foil balloons hovering over the bed gave …

End-of-Life Lessons

It was my second day rotating through the palliative care service at an Atlanta hospital. The first day, I rounded on the floor with the nurse practitioner. The patients were all ill, but none were in the last stages of death like I had expected. On this day, I worked with the physician on the inpatient hospice unit of the hospital. These patients were taking their final breaths; their care was about providing comfort and …

CMO: Comfort Measures Only, Not Morphine Drip Only

I was on my internal medicine clerkship on an inpatient general medicine service at a major academic medical center. It was another long day and our team, from the interns to the attending, was running low on energy. As we entered late afternoon, we received a page for the transfer of a new patient to our service. As the intern read aloud “CMO” — comfort measures only–the team breathed out a sigh of relief and …

Reza Hosseini Ghomi Reza Hosseini Ghomi (3 Posts)

Contributing Writer Emeritus

University of Massachusetts Medical School

I entered medical school after some wandering, not having a clue I would be here only five years after finishing college. I spent several years trying to find a place that felt right and eventually learned to quiet the torrent in my head enough to hear the messages from my heart and gut. I spent a short while in systems engineering for the Navy, but my experience as a patient with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma soon led me elsewhere. I ended up finding myself in basic science and imaging research, eventually leading to a graduate degree in biomedical engineering. I still didn't quite feel at home and realized what I really sought was the doctor-patient relationship I've read about, experienced, and admired. I felt I finally knew how I could feed my appetite for solving problems from the core and improving systems while also maintaining close contact with those I serve. This is a quote that has helped many times in my life.

"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and endless plans: That the moment one definitely commits oneself then providence moves, too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never have otherwise occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in ones's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it! Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it." -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe