Let me go

Upfront is a quick look at the latest developments from Stanford Medicine

Most physicians would forgo aggressive end-of-life treatment for themselves but still pursue it for their patients, according to a recent Stanford study in PLOS ONE.

The study, led by VJ Periyakoil, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine, set out to determine physicians’ attitudes toward advance directives, documents that patients can use to indicate end-of-life care preferences. It included a 2013 survey of 1,081 Palo Alto physicians showing that most of these doctors — 88.3 percent — would choose “no-code” or do-not-resuscitate orders if they were terminally ill.

These results mirror what most Americans say they want at the end of life, but it’s not what most get. “Patients’ voices are often too feeble and drowned out by the speed and intensity of a fragmented health-care system,” she says. “The system needs to be changed.” 

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