Author Box
Articles Categories
All Categories
Articles Resources

The Process of Dying

March 24, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 199

The Process of Dying - doesn't have to be scary

In one of my last reviews with a client, I was mortified to sum up that the bill for the last 8 weeks of her husband's life far exceeded his entire Estate's net worth. In years past he may have had the dignity to remain in his own bed watched over by friends and family. As his organs would have started to fail, he may have slowly slipped into a coma and his breathing would have become shallower. If possible, he may have been able to whisper a last good bye and I love you, before passing on. Instead, this once vibrant man, much like many elderly in our country today, was tied to a bed in ICU as hydration was engaged via ivy, a tube was cut into the walls of his stomach to deliver food, and a tube was placed down his throat into his lungs so a ventilator could breathe for him. This slow torture, as I saw it, ended as he finally died in a cold room, alone and unable to speak or communicate. In my opinion, in some cases modern day technology has enabled us to prolong death, not prolong life.

As Americans we have somehow started to regard death as a condition that is curable. Instead of educating ourselves on the options we have to die peacefully at home with our dignity intact, we regard death as a condition where a proper diagnosis will somehow cure us of this disease. This change in perception has ballooned into a 17% allocation of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP); yes, our National Health Expenditure accounts for more than any other expenditure on our national balance sheet. In fact of every dollar spent on health care almost 80 cents is being spent on the last year of life.

How do stop being so afraid of dying naturally?

According to Dr. Bruce Foster, a practicing emergency medicine physician with over 25 years experience, there first needs to be a paradigm shift in the way Americans think about the process of dying, and a willingness by physicians to help gently lead families through the labyrinth of difficult and often painful decisions. The solutions he believes won't actually come from the health care industry as there is too much incentive to maximize revenue and the fear of litigation if anything less than maximum care is delivered. In fact as our population ages, the potential for revenue increases as more Americans age and flood our health care system.

A solution to this tidal wave may not come from our government either, as no one wants an anonymous panel to decide who should receive what care. Dr. Foster believes that the first step to changing the way we die can only begin with our personal assumption for the responsibility for the process of our own death.

Dr. Jeff Berger, Chief of Hospice and Palliative Medicine at Winthrop Hospital in New York, counsels many patients and their family member on this final stage of life. He states that this discussion should take place as soon as possible in one's adult life. He points out the more recent case of Terri Schiavo, as an example of proper discussion and pre-planning that didn't take place and nightmare it created. Dr. Berger counsels that first a health care proxy should be set up. He recommends assigning the "job" of taking care of your medical treatment to the best equipped relative or friend, not the closest relative. The health care proxy is also a good tool to use when a need to exclude someone from becoming your proxy is warranted. Because the absence of a proxy automatically names your next of kin as those able to make the decisions for your health care, should your beliefs, values or preferences differ from your next of kin, you may want them excluded from the decision process and that's where the health care proxy can be best used.

It is important to then let the proxy know that they have been chosen for this task and proceed to discuss with them the details of your requests. Dr. Berger strongly suggests that at this time the rest of the family should be brought into the discussion describing the details of your wishes, including the minimum quality of life you'd care to have as well as treatments you never want to have administered.

Another document that is good to map out is The Living Will. This is more of a narrative of your proxy wishes and is a good tool for you to arrange your thoughts and wishes in. However, according to Dr. Berger, for the hospital the health care proxy is a better tool to follow. When ambiguity or interpretation is too vast, the care givers will normally turn to the family or proxy for guidance and that is usually where the health care proxy comes back in to main focus.

Ultimately when a patient is ill the process and decisions chosen along the way, are addressed case by case. For doctors as we mentioned before, providing the patients with all the necessary information may be a hard process to undertake. However, as more of us in the public accept that death is a part of life and openly discuss our mortality with those we love and the professional who take care of us, I firmly believe more of us will be allowed to die with dignity, peace and with those we love around us. As a nation we have no choice but to address this issue openly and maturely, allowing for individual choice but understanding that carrying on as is isn't sustainable or affordable.

Ronit Rogoszinski is a Registered Representative with and securities are offered through LPL Financial, member FINRA/SIPC. Ronit may only discuss and /or transact securities business with residents of the following states: NY, NJ, CT, FL. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individuals. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing. Please visit us on

Source: EzineArticles
Was this Helpful ?

Rate this Article

Article Tags:







Medical Ethics


Financial Ruin


Gdp Expenditure




Relationships Family

Thus, you can apply for the negligence compensation under such circumstances in order to recover your loss, Negligence Claims, Negligence compensation Involvedness of Negligence Claims. The court

By: Simon Liva l Legal > Personal Injury l December 13, 2012 lViews: 291

If a lawyer is not able to devote enough time to your case then your defense is likely to suffer. Moreover specialization in one stream or other of defense is important so that the attorney can

By: Simon Liva l Legal > Criminal Law l December 12, 2012 lViews: 428

Filing a business bankruptcy can be a complex and critical task, but you have several options. You can consult your bankruptcy attorney to know which among those options is right for you.This is a

By: Harvard McIntosh l Legal > Corporations LLC l December 11, 2012 lViews: 234

You can always check for the treatments that are covered. This is because there are some policies which do not give you claims if you meet any kind of head injury.You can always check for the

By: Simon Liva l Legal > Personal Injury l November 05, 2012 lViews: 240

In Colorado, you have many Personal Injury Lawyers to choose from. When you choose the Law Offices of Andrew C. Bubb you instantly put years of experience and legal know how in your corner. Attorney

By: Dilshad l Legal > Personal Injury l October 25, 2012 lViews: 388

If you have been charged with a crime, speak with Boulder criminal defense attorney Steven Louth immediately to protect your rights. Steven Louth is a criminal defense attorney and criminal trial

By: Dilshad l Legal > Personal Injury l October 18, 2012 lViews: 243

As some of society's most vulnerable people, it is not difficult for the elderly to be taken advantage of, even abused or neglected. These are common misbehaviors that take place within nursing home

By: Chris Limberopoulosl Legal > Elder Lawl April 17, 2012 lViews: 148

When someone dies intestate, it does not necessarily mean that all of the deceased's assets and liabilities should go unaccounted for. Beneficiaries of the deceased could seek legal advice from a

By: Jason S Armstrongl Legal > Elder Lawl April 12, 2012 lViews: 186

Most Florida residents want to keep their estates out of probate. Making assets payable on death can sometimes accomplish this, but this method can present drawbacks.

By: Joseph Karpl Legal > Elder Lawl April 02, 2012 lViews: 176

Prenuptial agreements are valid and enforceable in Oregon. We frequently advise clients to have a prenuptial agreement in place if they have children from a prior relationship or this marriage will

By: Kevin Tillsonl Legal > Elder Lawl March 27, 2012 lViews: 186

Elder law commonly encompasses a variety of issues such as estate planning, care of the elderly, financial scams, elder abuse and other situations that are detrimental to the wellbeing of the

By: Kerry Peckl Legal > Elder Lawl March 26, 2012 lViews: 186

Elder law attorneys can help people prepare for various end-of-life scenarios by assisting them in planning advance directives, living wills and other documents. Estate planning lawyers offer

By: Kerry Peckl Legal > Elder Lawl March 26, 2012 lViews: 222

Discuss this Article

comments powered by Disqus