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A few months before completing medical school in 2003, Lukas Wartman was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a blood cancer that’s particularly lethal when it strikes adults. So began a battle to stay alive that has involved more than 70 drugs, two rounds of cell transplants, and a staggering series of twists and turns.
Faced with the uncomfortable task of discussing death, doctors often avoid the topic. Only 17 percent of Medicare patients surveyed in a 2015 Kaiser Family Foundation study said they had discussed end-of-life care — though most wanted to do so. Since that study, Medicare has begun reimbursing providers for having these conversations. Yet still, just a fraction of Medicare recipients at the end of life have those talks with their doctors.
“Nobody comes to the hospital wanting to be in for spiritual care — at least not consciously,” Berning said. Once they arrive, however, some patients have straightforward requests, such as physical items they need in order to pray. “The less straightforward requests are the existential questions — emotions, feelings, spiritual pain — that come out when people get new diagnoses or are trying to cope with some nightmare they never wanted to be in, or their batteries are low after a really long course (of treatment),”
Double-Booked: When Surgeons Operate On Two Patients At Once via Kaiser Health News
The controversial practice has been standard in many teaching hospitals for decades, its safety and ethics largely unquestioned and its existence unknown to those most affected: people undergoing surgery. But over the past two years, the issue of overlapping surgery — in which a doctor operates on two patients in different rooms during the same time period — has ignited an impassioned debate in the medical community, attracted scrutiny by the powerful Senate Finance Committee that oversees Medicare and Medicaid, and prompted some hospitals, including the University of Virginia’s, to circumscribe the practice.