Thursday, September 29, 2011

House Orders: Patients Must Live

Living longer is good... for most people... most of the time. But maximum survival is not always what people want. There are many cases of patients choosing to forgo treatment... or even commit suicide... rather than endure the unendurable.

But Dr. House almost never accepts the wishes of patients when those wishes don't put postponing death above all other considerations. It works on the show, because it almost always works out for the best on the show, but the logic is not as compelling in the real world, where it is not always easy to be sure which choice will lead to the best outcome for the patient.
“In the program, it looks like the doctor knows best. And that’s one of the things that one has to fight in medicine, is the idea that doctors do know best. They may know medicine best, but they may not know what’s best for patients, because patients have all sorts of priorities and preferences and values. And it is not necessarily maximum length of life or maximum health.” - Bioethicist  Mark Wicclair, PhD.
Read the full discussion in “House, M.D. vs. Reality

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