This post really doesn't have much to do with CME, but with the debate raging over the Terri Schiavo case (click here for the latest from MSNBC) got me thinking about how--or if--we are training doctors and other healthcare workers who may be stuck in the middle of a case like this. I know it happens, usually infinitely more quietly, every day in the U.S., yet I don't recall ever hearing of CME that focuses on how to deal with family conflicts, the best interests of the patient, all of the truly awful issues that surround caring for someone whose family has conflicting ideas about what would be best for the patient in lieu of having a living will or other legal document to instruct their behavior. It's kind of surprising to me that we're not hearing much from the healthcare workers involved in the Schiavo case, when this must be ripping them up, regardless of where they stand on reinstating her feeding tube.
And what about states that allow hospitals to make the decision to remove life support, regardless of family wishes? How do we prepare docs to deal with that? Is it even possible to prepare them for such a difficult situation?