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:4/24/2017)... ... ... Veteran Theresa James awoke to the sound of her newly ex-husband breaking into ... depicts every parent’s worst nightmare, when her three children were violently taken from her. ... my divorce,” James said. “After the death of my children, I continued to journal. ...
(Date:4/24/2017)... , ... April 24, 2017 , ... ... of unique liquid food supplements, announced its popular products are now available for ... , ALP Nutrition® prioritizes the use of premium natural ingredients in making all ...
(Date:4/24/2017)... Raton, Florida (PRWEB) , ... April 24, 2017 , ... ... chai teas, announced its products are now available for purchase on RevNutrition.com, a popular ... form of tea first produced and popularized in ancient India and Siam. It spread ...
(Date:4/24/2017)... , ... April 24, 2017 , ... ... healthcare compliance and credentialing solutions, today announced that Kyle Allain has joined the ... Cactus Provider Management sales and operations, including provider, payor and managed care solutions. ...
(Date:4/24/2017)... ... April 24, 2017 , ... In 2017, up to 78,000 ... 25,000 of them will be malignant.(1) As research into precision medicine continues, both ... model in the diagnosis and treatment of brain tumors. Healthcare facilities that are ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/24/2017)... 24, 2017 Solentim, the developer of ... addition of a major new product line called ... The VIPS has been developed for automatically seeding ... as part of the process to generate clonally-derived ... and more reliable solution when compared to traditional ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... Texas , April 20, 2017  Vivify Health, ... mobile devices, has been awarded a very significant patent ... via EMRs to continual care via digital health.  This ... key intellectual property and further secures Vivify,s position as ... launched in 2009, was the first company to apply ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... , April 20, 2017  RXi Pharmaceuticals ... innovative therapeutics that address significant unmet medical needs, ... from the Company,s consumer product development program, based ... the Society for Investigative Dermatology (SID) 76 th ... advance and promote the sciences relevant to skin ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: