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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 21, 2006 / 21 Adar, 5766

Let's raise our quality of death

By Lenore Skenazy


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The good news about modern medicine is that it is helping us live a lot longer. The bad news is ... pretty much the same thing.


Now that Americans are routinely living into their 70s, 80s and even 90s (in 1900, life expectancy was 47 years, in 2000 it was 75), most will end up sick and incapacitated for quite a few years at the end. And yet, just when it looks like death has finally come a-knocking, many of these frail folks will be rushed to the hospital and given the latest, greatest, priciest treatments.


To what end? Not so that they can return to a full and happy life, but more often so that they can return to the nursing home, or resume their dementia or slowly succumb to whatever it was that sent them to the hospital in the first place.


The reason for these interventions is not compassion. It is, for the most part, economic. "Medicare pays reasonably well for procedures and hospitalizations," says Dr. Joanne Lynn, president of Americans for Better Care of the Dying. It will, for instance, gladly pay for mammograms for patients with advanced dementia.


What it will NOT pay for, in most cases, is caregiver services — the kind that allow a sickly person to stay safe and comfortable. (One wonderful exception: Medicare pays for hospice care, even at home, but only for people near death.)


Perhaps most egregiously, Medicare does not yet pay for end-of-life education — the kind of serious time a doctor needs to sit down with a family, including the patient, to discuss what kind of life and death that patient really wants.


These discussions should be mandatory, says Dr. Frank Cervo, medical director of the Long Island State Veterans Home and an associate professor at Stony Brook University Hospital. "When I ask people to describe a good death, they say — like me — 'I'd like to go out after a good meal and a couple of beers.' But when families are making a decision in crisis mode and they haven't had this discussion, they forget what they'd want." Result? They green-light procedures out of guilt, or just plain panic. If only they'd discussed whether Dad would really want, say, a feeding tube, they might well choose to refuse one.


That, in fact, has been the case at Cervo's veterans home: Families who had hashed things out more often chose to forgo the tubes. "But in our health care system, that discussion is not reimbursable," says Cervo. "Whereas, putting in a feeding tube is."


The kind of education that Cervo is talking about is part of a movement called palliative care — a movement to make comfort and advance planning as much of a priority as intervention and cure. The result can be a little less time on Earth and a lot less suffering.


As America ages and more of us face our frail years, palliative care must get as much attention — and money — as the rescue efforts that can seem questionable, if not downright cruel.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Lenore Skenazy is a columnist for The New York Daily News. Comment by clicking here.

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© 2006, NY Daily News

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