Tuesday, October 08, 2013

How Doctors Die

I read this article some time ago.  It talks about a topic that many are uncomfortable to delve on.  It came to mind because a close relative of mine, who has been suffering from a chronic form of leukemia for the last several years, just found out that his condition is probably turning acute (not a good thing, where leukemia is concerned).  He is also a medical doctor and knows what this means with regards to possible scenarios.

We talked about what his options are now.  He has to live a day at a time, continuing with chemotherapy for a while longer, for what it's worth.  He is putting his things in order so as to make it "easier" for his loved ones (is it ever easy?) when he finally passes on.  There are three physicians in our family (including himself).  He has spoken about euthanasia (when the time comes) with his brother (the other physician), with me & with his own oncologist, knowing full well that the laws of the countries we live in prohibit it.   It is not an option, he knows, though he jokingly asks me to give him an overdose of propofol when he starts going downhill.  I laugh in response while trying to keep tears from rolling down my face (we are on the phone).

He knows what he is in for once the acute phase kicks in.  Fulminating infections, organ failures etc.  He doesn't want to suffer through all that.  The only option left at that point would be an induced coma until he finally passes on with dignity.

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