Recognizing end point of medicine isn’t immortality

I can’t help wondering if what makes end-of-life decisions so complicated is our definition of medicine itself. The idea of doctoring as a pitched battle against disease is compelling. But it belies the uncomfortable fact that physicians are really more stewards than soldiers. Our patients, and indeed each of us, always die in the end. It’s remarkable and good that medicine allows us to live 25 years longer on average than we did 100 years ago. But sometimes my profession forgets that the end point of medical innovation and intervention isn’t immortality.

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In Depth

Fallen Marine’s brother continues his legacy

David Griffith will honor his older brother, Maj. Samuel Mark Griffith, a Marine killed in Afghanistan in 2011, at a Memorial Day event in Holly Springs

David Griffith built the War on Terror Memorial for his Eagle Scout project and dedicated it on June 14, 2014, which would have been Sam’s 39th birthday

Griffith also is attending Penn State, his brother’s alma mater, in the fall with a full scholarship and plans to become a Marine

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NC native delivers powerful, poetic speech at Harvard

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Raleigh boy part of national campaign about the dangers of lawn mowers

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UNC's game winning catch against Case Western

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NC State pulls out dramatic win in ACC tournament

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Protesters shout 'Dump Donald Trump' outside Fresno's Selland Arena

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Feral cat colonies are under threat from gentrification and city development

"We are not bound to repeat the mistakes of the past," says Obama in Hiroshima 17:13

"We are not bound to repeat the mistakes of the past," says Obama in Hiroshima

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Best-Kept Secrets Week One: For Hikers

Video: A visit to Catawba Falls near Old Fort, N.C. Located just off I-40 at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Robert Willett rwillett@newsobserver.com
Best-Kept Secrets Week One: For Hikers 01:26

Best-Kept Secrets Week One: For Hikers

NC native delivers powerful, poetic speech at Harvard 05:47

NC native delivers powerful, poetic speech at Harvard

‘Near normal’ hurricane season expected this year 02:45

‘Near normal’ hurricane season expected this year

Wolfpack baseball heads into NCAA Tournament play 01:36

Wolfpack baseball heads into NCAA Tournament play

More Videos

Best-Kept Secrets Week One: For Hikers 01:26

Best-Kept Secrets Week One: For Hikers

NC native delivers powerful, poetic speech at Harvard 05:47

NC native delivers powerful, poetic speech at Harvard

‘Near normal’ hurricane season expected this year 02:45

‘Near normal’ hurricane season expected this year

Wolfpack baseball heads into NCAA Tournament play 01:36

Wolfpack baseball heads into NCAA Tournament play

Carrborro's Wojnovich credits teammates in championship win 01:03

Carrborro's Wojnovich credits teammates in championship win

UNC's game winning catch against Case Western 00:12

UNC's game winning catch against Case Western

Out of solitary, but still alone 03:24

Out of solitary, but still alone

NC State pulls out dramatic win in ACC tournament 02:35

NC State pulls out dramatic win in ACC tournament

Protesters shout 'Dump Donald Trump' outside Fresno's Selland Arena 00:55

Protesters shout 'Dump Donald Trump' outside Fresno's Selland Arena

Feral cat colonies are under threat from gentrification and city development 02:25

Feral cat colonies are under threat from gentrification and city development

"We are not bound to repeat the mistakes of the past," says Obama in Hiroshima 17:13

"We are not bound to repeat the mistakes of the past," says Obama in Hiroshima

Share Video