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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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