Anemona Hartocollis has a long piece in today’s NYT about the fine line physicans and families walk with patients at the end. Â New to me: in addition to pain, agitation and anxiety are now accepted reasons for giving patients a variety of CNS depressants, even though – or is it really because? – they are likely to hasten death.
Of course, it’s impossible to read a story such as this without imagining how it’s going to turn into more “death panel” hysteria. Â My own view is that if someone wants to hold on to every last minute, the health-care system ought to cooperate. Â But speaking for myself, I’d rather not die with a tube down my nose. Â As a society, our fear of death – for ourselves and others – costs us enormously in money and pointless suffering. Â Give me a long life, and a quick death.