March 2, 2020

Episode 30: Quality vs Quantity of Life with a Terminal Diagnosis

Thank you for joining us on the most important episode we've published to date, and perhaps will be the most important episode we will publish - for more reasons than we could possibly articulate here in written text. In this episode, we discuss the inescapably difficult but exceedingly important matter of quality versus quantity life - when given a terminal diagnosis. It is impossible to convey our saddened we are that a dear friend to this show, Dr. Karen Rees-Milton (who joined us on episode 27), is bravely surviving a terminal diagnosis. As a true reflection of her character, commitment, and passion for life, Karen wishes to broach with us just how important it is for communication between doctors and patients about the end of life. We are also so grateful to be joined by Dr. Sarah McLean, an Assistant Professor of Physiology & Pharmacology and Anatomy & Cell Biology at Western University's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. Like Karen, Sarah is an expert in cancer research - and she too has directly experienced the pains of being a centre for communication for and between her brothers, doctors, and her dear father, who she lost very quickly to cancer in the summer of 2019.

Karen and Sarah are experts in cancer research, and their direct experiences with cancer make for a particularly important conversation. As you will see, doctors do not always communicate quickly or efficiently about terminal diagnoses. The very human impulse to make people happy in desperate situations often creates moral ambiguity that distracts from the hard but important conversation about whether or not often debilitating treatments are worth one's precious time. We hope that you will use this episode as a guide to help you when faced with these difficult matters, as we all will inevitably deal with them - one way, or another. 

 

As mentioned in the episode, please visit the London Regional Cancer Program, the Zane Cohen Centre for Digestive Diseases, Kingston General Hospital's Endoscopy Unit, and Jayne Dill's (RN) New Before You Go - a wonderful woman and tremendous resource for helping us navigate matters of value, wishes, and communication when dealing with the end of life.  

Follow your hosts: @Derekcrim | @whatsthatdata | @wtncast

Dr. Sarah McLean can be followed on Twitter @drsarahmclean

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