I have listened to Dr. Battin talk about the ethics of life and death and the experience of her husband, Dr. Hopkins, over the years, but never quite like this. It’s an incredibly profound and thought-provoking TED talk. Of all the TED talks I have ever seen, this is perhaps the most uncomfortable to watch primarily because it forces me to think very consciously of my own mortality.
Now that I am on my ICU rotation, I’ve noticed that questions about end of life and quality of life come up pretty much daily unlike my other rotations. Most people don’t know a bioethicist who might help guide them to the answers they seek and far fewer are fortunate enough to marry one. I don’t know if I will have the answers I will need to make my own decisions when my time comes, but I certainly hope that I will be as fortunate as Dr. Hopkins to have the love and support of confident people who will help guide my path toward the decision that is best for me.
P.S. I get the impression that this piece might make it seem like I’m about to kick the bucket, so let me state for the record that at present, I have no medical problems other than being fat. Unless a comet drops directly on my head, or I get ebola (both of which are highly unlikely), I really don’t foresee my death happening any time soon.