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Language and Reality at the End of Life: 

Language and Reality at the End of Life Raphael Cohen-Almagor University of Haifa, ISRAEL

Every Profession Has Its Keywords That Are Important to Help Categorize Phenomena, Save Time and Provide a Framework for Working Together. : 

Every Profession Has Its Keywords That Are Important to Help Categorize Phenomena, Save Time and Provide a Framework for Working Together.

The Thesis: The Keywords Primarily Serve the Physicians, at Times at the Expense of the Patients’ Best Interests.: 

The Thesis: The Keywords Primarily Serve the Physicians, at Times at the Expense of the Patients’ Best Interests.

Death With Dignity: 

Death With Dignity To have dignity means to look at oneself with self-respect, with some sort of satisfaction.

‘Quality of Life’ : 

‘Quality of Life’ Positive connotations, for example, in rehabilitation, cosmetic treatments, psychiatry, and psychology

Slide6: 

However, when dealing with end of life issues, ethicists who support euthanasia use the term ‘quality of life’ in a negative sense more often than in a positive one, meaning that they do not seek to improve the patient’s life but to end it

Slide7: 

This phrase often serves to justify the termination of life A subjective concept, meaning that one’s quality of life is determined by one’s personal life circumstances

Patients in ‘Persistent Vegetative State’: 

Patients in ‘Persistent Vegetative State’ Prolonged unawareness and post-coma unawareness (PCU) The term ‘vegetative’ dehumanizes patients and therefore is offensive to patients and their beloved people

Slide9: 

We should strive to describe the condition without offending patients or their beloved people We should not strip patients of their human and moral characteristics

‘Terminal’ Patients: 

‘Terminal’ Patients The doctor’s task is to help patients to live when they want to continue living, not to hold a clock over their heads and count their days When patients are labeled ‘terminal,’ doctors send them several simultaneous negative messages:

Slide11: 

Not only that death is near, but also that the medical staff are giving up, The patient’s beloved people should begin the mourning period while the patient is still alive A difference exists between discussions among medical staff, and discussions that involve the patients and their beloved people

‘Futility’: 

‘Futility’ Means any effort to provide a benefit to a patient that is highly likely to fail and whose rare exceptions cannot be systematically produced

Slide13: 

First, a treatment that does not produce positive effects

Second, it is futile to provide a radical treatment whose side-effects outweigh the good emerging from the treatment: 

Second, it is futile to provide a radical treatment whose side-effects outweigh the good emerging from the treatment

Third, it is futile to treat a disease when the patient is suffering from another life-threatening disease: 

Third, it is futile to treat a disease when the patient is suffering from another life-threatening disease

Slide16: 

Concerns about costs often underlie the appeals to futility in the clinical setting and public policy discussions In public policy, the concept of futility can sanction restrictions in the allocation of health care resources

Slide17: 

The problem is that physicians disagree about the type of clinical evidence necessary to justify a futility claim What is required is a fair process approach for determining and subsequently withholding or withdrawing, what is felt to be futile care

‘Double Effect’: 

‘Double Effect’ Two basic presuppositions: (1) the doctor’s motivation is to alleviate suffering (2) the treatment must be proportional to the illness The rule is not a necessary means to adequate pain relief because informed consent, the degree of suffering, and the absence of less harmful alternatives suffice

‘Brain Death’: 

‘Brain Death’ 1) when should life support be withdrawn for the benefit of the patient? 2) when should life support be withdrawn for the benefit of society? 3) when is a patient ready to be cremated or buried? 4) when is it permissible to remove organs from a patient for transplantation?

Slide20: 

there is a significant disparity between the standard tests used to make the diagnosis of brain death and the criterion these tests are purported to fulfill.

Conclusions: 

Conclusions A need to introduce more ethics into the medical school curriculum, equipping the medical staff with communication skills A need to invest more time talking with patients and their beloved people

Slide22: 

Clean the language and clarify it sincerely Use elaborate explanations instead of concise, obscure or unethical terms

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