Don’t Allow Strangers to Control Your Fate

There’s an epidemic in our country when it comes to end-of-life care. We – both patients and health care providers – are failing to have the difficult but crucial discussions about dying.

Dr. Zubin Damania, who moonlights as parody performer ZDoggMD, is determined to get the message out. He recently created the video “Ain’t The Way to Die” based on the Eminem and Rihanna tune “Love the Way You Lie.”

“We are failing as caregivers, we are failing as family members, and we are failing as individuals – failing to simply have a conversation that ensures that we direct our own destiny. Plainly put, we need to talk about dying,” he writes on his website. He very bluntly breaks it down:

  • As patients, death and dying are often the last things we want to discuss and think about. We need to get over it. Who do you want making decisions for you at the most crucial juncture in your life? A set of strangers? Or do you want to control your own care? We need to think about and discuss the types of interventions we’d accept, and more importantly, what we’re willing to sacrifice in the process of reaching our goals of care. We then have to tell our loved ones and care team our wishes, and pick a surrogate to make decisions if we can’t.
  • As healthcare providers, we need to do better at starting these tough conversations, often over multiple visits, and preferably in the outpatient world while there’s relatively clear thinking and no imminent crisis.

It’s not always a popular topic, but having these conversations with loved ones can prevent human suffering and squandered health care resources.

The Philosophy Behind the Video

Interested in learning more about the philosophy behind this video? Dr. Michael Fratkin interviews ZDoggMD in this video to ask why it’s so hard to get people to pay attention to this message.

About Author: Robert Sawicki, MD

Doctor Robert Sawicki photoDr. Robert Sawicki is the Vice President of Clinical Services for OSF Home Care and Post-Acute Services. He has led efforts to develop and improve care for patients with chronic illnesses and has a special interest in end-of-life care and hospice.

Dr. Sawicki received his medical degree from Rush University in Chicago, Illinois, and completed his residency in family medicine in Rockford. He practiced family medicine in Bloomington, Illinois, for 20 years before moving into leadership roles with OSF Home Care Services.

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Categories: Palliative Care & Hospice