This documentary highlights some of the trade-offs inherent in high-tech, modern medicine. I thought it was extraordinary that several patients and their families permitted such a personal look at their journeys through serious illness.
As a hospice and palliative medicine physician, I was surprised that symptom relief, comfort care, and hospice weren't dealt with at all. Hospice was mentioned once -- unskillfully, I thought -- by one doctor talking with one family. And I cringed when she said that "doing nothing" was an option. For the record, hospice care isn't doing nothing. It's substituting one goal of care for another. I frequently have hospice patients receiving multiple medications to relieve their pain and other symptoms while our entire team works to assure emotional and spiritual needs are attended to. That's not nothing. That's a whole lot of something -- something that all of us need when we are facing death.