Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Finding Dead Bodies [EOL in Art 155]

In the 1986 film Stand by Me, several adolescent boys find a dead body.  The encounter was novel and unusual for 1959, (the setting for the film) as it would be today.  

But, looking to the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as one example, Miles Mullin aptly observes that such an encounter was common back at the time of the Civil War.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Kevorkian "Nearer My God to Thee" [EOL in Art 154]

In "Nearer My God to Thee" Jack Kevorkian depicts how most human beings feel about dying -- at least about their own deaths. 

"Despite the solace of hypocritical religiosity and its seductive promise of an after-life of heavenly bliss. Most of us will do anything to thwart the inevitable victory of biological death. We contemplate and face it with great apprehension, profound fear, and terror. Sparing no financial or physical sacrifice, pleading wantonly and unashamedly, clutching any hope of salvation through medicine or prayer. How forbidding that dark abyss! How stupendous the yearning to dodge its gaping orifice. How inexorable the engulfment. Yet, below are the disintegrating hulks of those who have gone before; they have made the insensible transition and wonder what the fuss is all about. After all, how excruciating can nothingness be?"

Sunday, October 11, 2015

OPO too Aggressive in Determinations of Death

The director of South Florida's Organ Procurement Organization has stepped down.

The Miami Herald reports that Michael Goldstein's methods have drawn complaints in the past. "While he was medical director for the New York Organ Donor Network . . . he was named in a 2012 lawsuit [that] accused Goldstein and the organ bank’s leaders of pressuring staff to aggressively pursue brain death determinations for hospital patients in order to increase donations."

In Florida, "doctors and nurses at some of the 81 South Florida hospitals where LAORA recovers organs have complained of the agency’s aggressive procurement methods . . .  including allegations that the agency’s staff pressured family members to consent to donations . . . ."

"Liminal Space" [EOL in Art 153]

In "Liminal Space" Jennifer Rodgers uses abstract shapes of home and movement to evoke her father's journey to living in a hospital.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Decision Making for Unrepresented Patients Webinar

On October 13, 2015 (10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. PT),  the California Hospital Association is offering a webinar on "Decision Making for Unrepresented Patients."

On June 24, the Alameda County Superior Court found unconstitutional a California law that permits skilled-nursing facilities (SNFs) to use interdisciplinary teams to make medical decisions for patients who lack capacity and have no one to make decisions for them. While the law applies to SNFs, many hospital interdisciplinary teams have also been operating under a model policy developed by the California Hospital Association, the California Medical Association and the Alliance of Catholic Hospitals, which is based the SNF law.

It is unclear whether the decision will be appealed. However, to protect patient rights, SNFs and hospitals should revise their policies and procedures. This webinar will explain the implications of the case, California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform v. Chapman, and how policies and procedures should be revised to comply. An updated model policy for consent for treatment of unrepresented patients will be provided along with other tools to operationalize the new process.

"The Last Day" [EOL in Art 152]

A month after her father died of sepsis, Jennifer Rodgers began creating maps.  In "The Last Day" there are a series of lines that appear to be intentional.  

Why?  "The day he died we spent a lot of time in the waiting room outside the ICU and it was a lot of walking back and forth. I wanted to mimic the physical steps I took as the whole day was unfolding, almost as a way for me to honor that day."

Friday, October 9, 2015

Money Spent Treating Sick Elderly Should Be Spent on Children

Many will recall Colorado Governor Richard Lamm's comments from 30 years ago:  elderly people who are terminally ill have a ''duty to die and get out of the way'' instead of trying to prolong their lives by artificial means.

Similar comments came this week from the Australian Northern Territory Health Minister John Elferink.  He says the cost of treating the jurisdiction's elderly has been coming at the expense of children and priorities should change.

Chris Picco Singing Blackbird [EOL in Art 151]

Chris Picco singing Blackbird to his son, Lennon James Picco, who was delivered by emergency C-section at 24 weeks after Chris' wife Ashley unexpectedly and tragically passed away in her sleep. 

Chris asked if he could bring his guitar into the NICU at Loma Linda University Children's Hospital and play for Lennon, which he did for several hours during the last days of Lennon's precious life. One day after filming this, Lennon went to sleep in his daddy's arms.