Should End-of-Life-Care Be Provided to Every American?

If Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel’s last name sounds familiar, it should; he’s the brother of Rahm Emanuel, former White House Chief of Staff and now Mayor of Chicago. He’s also a well-known oncologist, and chair of the Department of Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Emanuel is a longtime proponent of end-of-life care. And he’s a forceful spokesperson on the need to change the way we look at – and treat – the process.

My clients know me as a strong believer in the right of terminal patients to have a say in how they’re going to die…whether they want extraordinary measures to extend their lives a bit, or whether they’d like to die naturally, using only pain medication.

Dr. Emanuel believes that all doctors should be formally trained in end-of-life care and discussions. Walking into a room with a patient to discuss a terminal diagnosis or prognosis can be overwhelming – even for experienced doctors. For doctors, there’s never been formal training in how to discuss terminal illness with patients and families, or how to discuss palliative options.

In Dr. Emanuel’s opinion – and mine – our doctors should know how to tell us, and what types of options to offer.

Dr. Emanuel says that more than 40% of American hospitals don’t offer access to palliative (pain-control) care. And he believes this should be a requirement.

He also disagrees with the current standard that a patient must have a life-expectancy of less than six months to be admitted to hospice. But pain has no time-line…and admittance to hospice should be based on need, not projected life.

Emanuel’s quick to add that he’s not talking about “death panels”…but simply the right of people to make their own choices.

It’s an issue that invariably leads to other issues…and a lot of questions. But we can help.

At The Law Offices of Alice Reiter Feld & Associates, we’ve been answering tough questions like these for 34 years…for thousands of South Florida families. And we’ve answered their questions, as well, on comprehensive estate planning, wills, trusts, powers of Attorney, long-term care planning, asset-protection plans, and assistance with Medicaid or the VA.

We can answer your questions on the tough issues. And we’re just a phone call away.

Should End-of-Life-Care Be Provided to Every American?

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