Her lips were red, her looks were free,
Her locks were yellow as gold:
Her skin was as white as leprosy,
The Nightmare Life-in-Death was she,
Who thicks man’s blood with cold.

~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Sarah Kliff follows up on how doctors die. I quote her quoting Sharron Brownlee

There is good evidence that physicians have thought out end-of-life issues more thoroughly than lay people and are more likely to decline medical intervention. For example, they sign advance directives far more often than the rest of us do. Less than half of severely or terminally ill patients have an advance directive in their medical records.

. . .

Why would doctors be so anxious to avoid the very procedures they deliver to their patients every day? For one thing, they know firsthand that these procedures are most often futile when performed on a frail, elderly, chronically ill person.

This is the kind of explanation that resonates with people, but upon closer examination seems unlikely. Is it really that doctors say “Well the chances are low so forget it.”

What do they have to lose? Why not at least try to live?

Having seen this process up close with family member my bet is that they are not afraid the procedure won’t work. They are afraid that it will.

What are in then is the limbo of being undead. Sometimes literally a zombie, lying on the bed incapacitated, unable to communicate. In almost all cases knowing that you have only bought a temporary reprieve and that very soon everyone is going to go through this process again.

Each time your family will be on edge, unable to say goodbye. Each time you will not know for sure whether this is really the end. 

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