Navigation Links
Does gallows humor among physicians encourage accusations of murder and euthanasia?
Date:9/3/2012

Rochester, MN, September 4, 2012 In a recent survey of palliative care medicine practitioners, nearly three quarters of the sample reported having been "humorously" accused of promoting death; for example, being called "Dr. Death." Most of the remarks came from fellow physicians and other health care professionals. At the same time, the survey found that a third of investigations into accusations of murder or euthanasia against physicians are instigated by fellow members of the health care team. A commentary in the September issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings suggests that whether real or in jest, such accusations are grounded in the same societal beliefs.

"What jokes illustrate about medical society is that doctors and nurses are members of a pluralistic culture that clearly contains within it conflicting beliefs about end-of-life care, specifically hastening death," says author Lewis M. Cohen, MD, of Tufts University School of Medicine, Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, MA.

Most clinicians who care for dying patients would take umbrage at the suggestion they actually kill patients. Palliative care medicine takes the position that shortening the process of dying to ameliorate suffering is entirely justifiable. However, many Americans, including health care providers, believe that human existence needs to be maintained for as long as possible, at any cost, without regard to the quality of life, or that it is a mortal sin to attempt to assume God's control over the manner of death. "Medical staff have different faiths, backgrounds, and countries of origin and all of these factors may contribute to clinical disagreements," observes Dr. Cohen.

He suggests that greater attention to communication and conscientious documentation can ameliorate, but not entirely forestall, dissension among health care workers about care at the end of life. "There should be a low threshold for allowing and requesting ethics consultations, while grand rounds and other academic forums can present controversial topics to make the point that it is acceptable to have and air differing views," he says.

As to gallows humor, Dr. Cohen believes it would be a mistake to conclude that physicians ought to cease joking about death with their colleagues. He cites Freud, who believed that wit contains and neutralizes a tremendous amount of hostility, that laughter provides emotional catharsis, and that jokes reveal more about societal attitudes of the time than about the individuals to which they are directed. "Levity must remain an acceptable defense mechanism in medicine for coping with the weightiest of medical duties: helping patients die with grace and dignity," he concludes.


'/>"/>
Contact: Rachael Zaleski
mcpmedia@elsevier.com
215-239-3658
Elsevier Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Why is traumatic brain injury increasing among the elderly?
2. Overuse Injuries Common Among Female College Athletes
3. Predictors identified for rehospitalization among post-acute stroke patients
4. Job injuries among youth prompt calls for better safety standards
5. Death From Accidental Injuries Among Kids Drops 30%: CDC
6. Swallowing exercises linked with short-term improvement among patients with head and neck cancer
7. Study examines drug regimen for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer among older patients
8. Study examines adverse effects among different radiation therapies for prostate cancer
9. Killing in war linked with suicidal thoughts among Vietnam veterans, study finds
10. Moffitt researchers find cancer therapies affect cognitive functioning among breast cancer survivors
11. Mayo Clinic: Obesity epidemic fueling rise in rheumatoid arthritis among women
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... PurhealthRX , a leading Health and Nutrition ... the Purzorb™process to full spectrum CBD oil will revolutionize the rapidly growing CBD market ... can be easily incorporated into liquid products, while reducing costs to end users. , ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... 2017 , ... The Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) of Somerset Hills is proud ... and unique items from across the nation, this holiday-themed event will raise funds and ... the VNA. The boutique will be open Saturday, November 4 (10:00 a.m. – ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Coveros, a ... has been awarded a contract by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services ... accelerate the enterprise use of Agile methodologies in a consistent and high value ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... 12, 2017 , ... Planet Fitness, one of the largest and fastest growing ... open a flagship location in Covington, LA at 401 N. U.S. Highway 190, in ... to Office Depot in the Holiday Square shopping center. Its location allows it to ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Information about the technology: , Otomagnetics has ... prevention of a major side effect of chemotherapy in children. Cisplatin and carboplatin ... cisplatin, hearing loss is FDA listed on-label as a dose limiting toxicity. Hearing ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/22/2017)... , Sept. 22, 2017  As the latest ... Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Lindsey ... notes that the medical device industry is in an ... device tax, the 2.3% excise tax on medical device ... they also want covered patients, increased visits and hospital ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... ZirMed Inc ., a recognized leader in cloud-based revenue cycle ... ranked #1 by its users for the seventh consecutive year ... ZirMed was recognized as the top-ranked end-to-end revenue cycle management ... 200 beds and holds one of the longest #1 ranking ... ...
(Date:9/13/2017)... 2017   OrthoAtlanta has been named the official ... Committee (AFHC) for the 2018 College Football Playoff (CFP) National ... Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia . OrthoAtlanta ... In" campaign, participating in many activities leading up to, and ... ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: