The Associated Press published an article March 6, 2012 entitled “Heart Association Urges Wider Sharing of Healthcare Decisions.” This article briefly discusses a much-needed topic which needs to be debated. The question is, when is the appropriate place and situation to use technology?
As society is aging, more and more people are going to have heart disease including congestive heart failure. There is going to be the need for more devices, pacemakers, internal defibrillators, stents, and surgeries. When a doctor approaches a patient, most often a patient will want whatever medical science has to offer. The American Heart Associations is urging doctors to honestly discuss what patients want in their remaining days. Will this device or procedure improve quality of life is the question they are urging doctors to ask?
I think it is very important to have this discussion. I also hope that doctors can have this discussion with patients and the available options in patient care will not be legislated based on some algorithm. This is a definite possibility and occurs elsewhere. I have found in my practice that patients and families are reasonable when the options, expectations, and quality of life issues are presented from a balanced perspective. Currently there is nothing in place to encourage this type of conversation. This article is paving the way for further discussions.
There is a place for modern medicine. There is a place for lifestyle changes. It is the relationship with the Creator that leads to ultimate healing. It is the relationship that gives power to change a lifestyle. It is the relationship between a healer and their patient that is needed to make well-informed decisions. This debate will continue to develop. There are definite economic pressures driving this. There are political concerns. There are legal concerns.
In this debate, I want to add this question, what can we do individually to lower our chances of developing a chronic disease and how can we communicate our wishes to those making these major decisions?