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Adriaen Brouwer’s Bitter Medicine … “But medicine has a bitter taste in his own arena, which no technological progress can sweeten. In its fight against evil and death, medicine can win a battle but lose the war. The disease that seems to be beaten, rises embodied in new, more powerful figures, like an evil alien […]

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“ … when the body of a royal Habsburg is taken from the cathedral for burial, the solemn procession makes its way to the Habsburg tomb. An official knocks loudly on the sepulchral doors with a staff.  “Who desires entry?” says a voice from inside the doors.  “Otto of Austria; once Crown Prince of Austria-Hungary; […]

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Sometimes there are more radical, violent wounds. Death seems close. When we are hurt, we tend to close in on ourselves. It is winter. The ground becomes hard. And sometimes winter lasts a long time. Jean Vanier, Seeing Beyond DepressionSeeing Beyond Depression, p. 43

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“When I look at a patient, in this case a dying patient, I really look at the primary core spiritual need that they are presenting to me. Is it a quest for meaning to try to determine what their life meant or what their faith means? Or, are they presenting a need for affirmation, support, […]

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Akira Kurosawa’s Red Beard will be shown Friday April 20th at 7:00 pm in the 4th floor auditorium at Benedictine College. Pizza at 6:30pm … discussion to follow the movie. Yasumoto is a recent medical graduate assigned to a rural clinic for his post-graduate training. In his arrogance, he is livid that he should have […]

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principles …  Standard of Care … Know your medical facts – diagnosis – prognosis – treatment. Get second opinion … go to the literature.   Substituted judgment … “If for whatever reason you are unable to make your own medical decisions … Who should make them for you?”. Put yourself in the patient’s place – […]

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Oregon’s public health division has released statistics on deaths under its physician-assisted suicide (PAS) legislation. It shows a steady increase in the number of lethal prescriptions and in the number of deaths. In 1998, the first year after PAS was legalized, there were 24 prescriptions and 16 deaths. In 2011, there were 114 prescriptions and […]

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roundtable discussion … CAPC IPAL-ICU website …

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Salpeter et. al. summarize prognostic factors in cancer and non-cancer diagnoses that are consistently associated with a survival of 6 months or less. “Despite different cancer characteristics, a fairly universal picture of terminal disease included decreasing performance status, advancing age, weight loss, metastatic disease, disease recurrence, and laboratory abnormalities indicating extensive disease. Most of the […]

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… in the setting of physician assisted suicide and euthanasia … “The secular version of a “good death” is a terribly lonely one. Placing the emphasis on unbearable suffering and the patient’s autonomy, or right to “die with dignity,” is supremely ironic because the patient is never truly autonomous as he asks the community, in […]

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