Doctors Ponder Delicate Talks As Medicare Pays For End-Of-Life Counsel

(By – Phil Galewitz, Kaiser Health News)

She didn’t want to spend the rest of her days seeing doctors, the 91-year-old woman confessed to Dr. Kevin Newfield as he treated a deep wound on her arm.

“You don’t have to, but you have to tell me what you do want,” Newfield replied.

“I’m not afraid of dying. I’m afraid of being 106,” she told the surgeon and her daughter, who was in the room with them.

The woman’s spontaneous admission in Newfield’s south Florida office that January day triggered a 20-minute discussion about living wills, hospice and other end-of-life issues, Newfield said.

An orthopedic surgeon who sometimes performs amputations, Newfield is comfortable having those conversations. Read more…

 

Kaiser Health News is a nonprofit national health policy news service that is part of the nonpartisan Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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