Category Archives: Featured

TEDx: How to protect your body and your doctor’s soul during Covid-19

If we have learned anything from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is that a health emergency can strike at any moment. But are we prepared?

As Dr. Elizabeth Clayborne teaches us in her TEDx talk “How to protect your body and your doctor’s soul during Covid-19,” laying out your goals of care and delegating who speaks for you if you cannot speak for yourself before an emergency strikes can drastically help hospitals and patients adequately manage high-risk patients, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic. One third of Medicare spending occurs in the last year of life, often on treatments done without the consultation of the person receiving the care. COVID-19 has exacerbated these issues, often barring family and caretakers from visiting their loved ones in their last moments, creating not only a crisis of the soul, but within hospitals as well, as providers are left without crucial information into a patient’s medical wishes. Despite these truths, less than 30 percent of Americans have an advance care plan outlining their wishes that is accessible to medical providers.

As Dr. Clayborne discusses, advance care planning platforms such as MyDirectives help doctors understand someone’s values and goals in emergencies where patients cannot speak for themselves. “I want to know what you want, where is your voice, and what are your values?” Dr. Clayborne says. She doesn’t just speak from the perspective of a healthcare provider – she knows this from the perspective of a patient too, having given birth to a daughter in the middle of the pandemic.

Amid the pandemic, especially as we face the prospect of a deadly second wave, it is critical that Americans understand the ways in which they can help protect themselves, their families, and the healthcare workers that serve them.

It Takes Courage To Talk About Death

Most of time we use the word “courage” to describe a someone’s willingness to confront danger or intimidation. Often, we reserve the term for acts of extraordinary heroism.

But we all know that courage isn’t just needed in special circumstances. Sometimes, addressing the simplest things takes the most courage.

Like talking about death, for example.

Death is perhaps the most baffling aspect of human life. So far as we know, we humans are the only species that understands that we will die. And we learn this at a surprisingly early age. This makes “time” a uniquely human concern.

In addition, death is the only human experience we can be certain we will share with every other person who has ever lived. And, conjecture about future scientific breakthroughs aside, every other person who ever will.

Despite this universality, we seem to take it for granted that others don’t want to talk about death. Death is at the center of lots of superstitions. It’s almost as if we believe Continue reading It Takes Courage To Talk About Death

Changing The Way We Die

The lead article in the January-February 2012 issue of Harvard Business Review is entitled, “HBR’s List of Audacious Ideas For Solving the World’s Problems.”

Some of those ideas? “Fix the global debt crisis”; “Reform executive pay”; “Save the ocean.”

And, “Die the Way You Want To,” by Ellen Goodman.

Goodman is a Pulitzer prize winning columnist who has taken up the cause of promoting broad adoption of advance directives. Mortality, Goodman notes, is the only condition Continue reading Changing The Way We Die