How to Talk End-of-Life Care with a Dying Patient – Atul Gawande

Charles 1 Comment


Four questions a doctor needs to ask a person who is dying:

1.  Do you know your prognosis?

2.  What are your fears about what is to come?

3.  What are your goals? What would you like to do as time runs short? 

4. What tradeoffs are you willing to make? How much suffering are you prepared to go through for the sake of the possibility of added time? 



  1. Charles

    Unfortunately I can’t see the video but for me question 4 is the most important. In this world of ‘life at all costs’ it is seen as ungrateful for one to suggest that any treatments offered to extend life might be snubbed when the reaper comes to knock on the door.

    I am currently trying to complete an advanced directive, or living will as they were once called. However, it asks what treatments you would rather not have. Well, as I don’t know what is going to happen to me, or what I am going to die of at the moment, I find it rather difficult to say.

    My loved ones find this all rather negative and gloomy. I find it empowering (at least I will once I know what I don’t want them to do to me should I begin to expire).

    I for one am not prepared to go through anything which is going to prolong life at the expense of quality.

    At least, that’s what I say now…..

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