Fri 27 Apr, 2007 12:05 pm
A terrifying New Yorker piece on ageing: a sort of memento mori for today:
Annals of Medicine
The Way We Age Now
Medicine has increased the ranks of the elderly. Can it make old age any easier?
Yes, Gawande is one of my favorite New Yorker contributors. I had read the article, VERY interesting in its implications re medical practice in the United States.
I've looked at that and haven't read it yet. Gawande is also one of my favorites, though (he tends to write articles that I then refer to over and over again once I've read them) and I'm looking forward to it. Sort of. (Will probably be good writing and important information, looks extremely depressing though.)
Thanks Walter, that was really interesting.
Thanks Walter, that was really depressing.
No one ever said the Human Body Warrenty could be extended beyond three score and ten.
Vanity, vanity. All is vanity.
The way we age now
Yes, it was depressing, but not the description of the process. That had its consolations in a way. The depressing bit was the end, all about the growing lack of geriatricians.
I guess most primary care physicians (formerly known as family doctors) do pick up a lot of geriatric experience along the way, if their patients stay with them long-term. But that can be pretty scattered, hit-or-miss, and they often don't have the time (or, as Gawande points out, the inclination) to pull it all together.
Our medical emphasis is still on treating specific chronic or acute problems, especially if they are life-threatening, not in easing patients through the various miseries of aging. If the situation requires sophisticated action, American medicine is ready. If it requires gentle, common-sense supervision that's a different story. Heroic measures are glamorous, but keeping an 85-year old comfortable and functioning, with attention paid to quality of life, simply doesn't pay enough.
I want it understood, though, that I am NOT talking about our present primary care physician. He LISTENS!
I found some hope in the suggestion that the shortage of MD's could be offset by Nurse Practioners and Physican Assistants. Deep medical knowledge isn't required. Common sense and compassion are.
The way we age now
This should probably be posted separately, but due to the interrest in the Neew Yorker article and Gawande's writings in general I'll put it here for now: The NY Times for today has an article by him on the American health care system which should be read by everybody, and I do mean everybody.
Thanks, TomKitten, I hadn't gotten to the NYT yet in my newspaper review for the day. Will definitely read that.
I *just* read it, funny. (Like 15 minutes ago.) Here's a link:
(Does the link work? I'll copy and paste if not.)
hell sir how r u i see you read the article the way we age now and i was wondering if you can write me a summary of this article and please help me out i need it for my school and if u can can u send me the summary on my email
ty very much and i need it tommm if u can pleasee thank uu
see if this link works for you - http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/04/30/070430fa_fact_gawande
If not, you can purchase the article, I think.