Physician Patient

Archive for the ‘Message from the President’ Category

Medical Practice Morality 11: Not Too Soon to Say Goodbye – Art Buchwald, and Die Wise – Stephen Jenkinson

Sunday, June 14th, 2020

The “Death Phobic Culture” is central to his thesis. The “fix is in” and is supported by the “Death Trade,” says Stephen Jenkinson. In his view, we are on the receiving end of a “conditional compassion” that does not allow us to die. I agree that Death Phobia needs to be acknowledged and embraced.
At what point is one’s life not worth living? Jenkinson asks. And who decides when “enough is enough”? How many “grief teachers” will the culture tolerate? Embracing grief is learned, and can be taught, he argues.
I do not support physician-assisted suicide or “medical aid in dying.”  This practice to me is an overkill response to what Jenkinson describes as death phobia.
 From the moment of our conception we are all “terminal.”  Our deaths are part of life. And compassionate hospice is life affirming rather than a consequence of “death phobia culture.”
Click on these videos:

Harm Reduction Strategies to Counter Opioid Addiction and Overdose Deaths

Friday, May 1st, 2020

In this Jan. 2020 talk, US Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams, MD, MPH outlines proven life-saving measures to reverse death and disability in the current US opioid epidemic. Training and equipping first responders (police, firefighters) as well as addicts themselves to use naloxone (Narcan) as an antidote to reverse respiratory depression which often kills in heroin, fentanyl overdoses, Dr. Adams also emphasizes the positive results of sterile needle exchanges as public policy. In drug using communities such as the US homeless population, needle exchanges do not reinforce addiction behavior. Rather, providing easy access to sterile (safe) needles permits personal contact by outreach helpers which can result in needed shelter and access to effective addiction treatment for homeless people. Sterile needles avoid transmitting HIV and other blood born infections (such as hepatitis) which are readily transferred from person to person by dirty needles. Furthermore, opioid addicts may benefit from taking the medication buprenorphine (Suboxone) under medical supervision when prescribed on an ongoing basis to reduce opioid cravings to reduce the liklihood of  inadvertent overdoses from street heroin which is often laced with lethal fentanyl.