Charles Cowling



Years ago, Charlie, a highly respected orthopedist and a mentor of mine, found a lump in his stomach. He had a surgeon explore the area, and the diagnosis was pancreatic cancer. This surgeon was one of the best in the country … Charlie was uninterested. He went home the next day, closed his practice, and never set foot in a hospital again. He focused on spending time with family and feeling as good as possible. Several months later, he died at home. He got no chemotherapy, radiation, or surgical treatment.

If this is how doctors choose to die, why do they go to such lengths to provide ‘futile care’ for their patients? 

Find out in this fascinating and important article in Zocalo.

Hat-tip to Rupee


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QuokkagirlJedChris the traineegloria mundi Recent comment authors

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I echo every sentiment in this article. I have my advanced directive sitting next to me. The difficulty in completing it is that I am currently healthy. It asks what treatments I don’t want……….which is difficult as I have no idea what illnesses I am going to get. I must ask my GP to help me decide what I want and in the meantime, everyone who matters knows that I want to go into that good night when my time comes with the minimum of intervention. Thanks for the article Chas. I have forwarded it to a young F1 who… Read more »


“If there is a state of the art of end-of-life care, it is this: death with dignity. As for me, my physician has my choices. They were easy to make, as they are for most physicians. There will be no heroics, and I will go gentle into that good night.” – this is going in my ‘to do’ file.
Thanks Charles

Chris the trainee
Chris the trainee

Read the article and the attendant comments. Now I will include specific instructions in my will ! Am now sending this article to my daughter (a nurse of 15 months) Will be interesting to see her comments !(especially as she has just done a ‘crash’ course)

gloria mundi

Oi! Read this essay, you lot. It’s superb. Thank you Charles, yet again, for your eagle eye.