In the opening moments of our weekly hospice team meetings we report on recent patient deaths. How is the family doing? Who was with the person when she died? Was the mortuary and physician informed of his death? If a patient fell during her hospice stay, was the coroner contacted (even the most benign of stumbles requires legal notification)? Did she have a peaceful death? The final words on the medical chart summarizing patients’ deaths are intentionally brief and accurate, not much longer than this paragraph.
As we finished the report on a patient, a nurse spontaneously added, “She died quickly, which is what she wanted because she didn’t want a long, drawn-out death.”
The nurse’s final comment wasn’t necessary for the sparse report. I recollect the patient died comfortably, with family at the bedside. All went as well as possible. But I caught myself wondering: Don’t we all hope to die quickly?
Would anyone want to have a “long, drawn-out death?”
Indeed, who wants to die? I don’t. Read More →by