Category Archives: Television

“Respecting Choices”

NBC’s Rock Center recently aired a segment featuring the great work our friends at Gundersen Lutheran in La Crosse, Wis, are doing through their Respecting Choices program, which assists patients facing death to have honest conversations with both loved ones and doctors about which medical treatments they would and would not want as their health declines.

The segment tells the story of Paul and Jean Pearson, following Paul’s diagnosis of inoperable lung cancer. Watch their story here:

Paul’s and Jean’s courage to allow cameras in to enable us to witness their conversation is inspiring. We wish them the best and happiness.

We applaud NBC for telling this story and the entire Respecting Choices team for its tireless efforts to transform care for our elderly and frail. We firmly believe all adults, 18 and older, are best served by having an advance directive.  We shouldn’t wait until we are sick to document our treatment values and goals.  Surprises – some good and some bad – happen all the time in life and, as the Boy Scouts say it best: “be prepared.”  

What did you think of the Rock Center segment? Share your thoughts in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter

No More Clipboards.

We’ll admit it – we’ve been watching a lot of television lately. But can you really blame us? Television shows can be a useful tool to start a conversation.

Take the most recent episode of Grey’s Anatomy as an example. In the premiere, as we discussed in a post last week, we saw how the docs dealt with carrying out their friend and colleague’s advance medical directive and living will.  But in the second episode, the writers took us back in time to when he created it.

Take a look:

Notice the clipboard?  We did.

The decisions Mark Sloan makes are too important to wait until the last minute – too important for a clipboard. Sloan might be a fictional character, but his story is sadly far from fiction.

All too often patients or their families are handed a clipboard and asked questions they’ve never talked about. Let alone thought about.

We’ve all put the conversation off at some point. It’s something we don’t want to think about, but we need to.

Avoid the clipboard. Start the conversation with your family now. Here are some tips on how to start the conversation.  And after you do, let us know how it went. Did you learn something you’d like to pass on to others? Share your story on Facebook or Twitter.

Crossposted from

More Serious Talk on TV

A few weeks ago we recapped some of our favorite shows talking about advance medical directives and living wills from last television season. We’re only a couple weeks into the new season and already two shows have broached the “what happens if…” conversation.

This week on Private Practice, the sudden death of one of the characters prompted conversation among the rest of the doctors about what they would want and who would take care of their children. See how the conversation started:

And last week, on the premiere of Gray’s Anatomy, the doctors had to deal with the aftermath of a plane crash that at the end of last season killed one of their own and left another in a coma. The episode picked up a month after the accident as they had to carry out the directive of their close friend. Watch how they handled it here:

Have you caught any other shows we should be watching? And what about in real life – have you talked to your family and friends about your wishes? How’d the conversation go? If you haven’t yet, what’s keeping you from talking?  Join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

Crossposted from