In this New York Times blog post, Jessica Nutik Zitter, M.D., a critical-care and palliative care physician at Highland Hospital in Oakland, Calif., discusses resisting the urge to always do more for a patient.
She notes, in writing about the last hours of a chronic alcoholic:
“And so often, when a patient is actively dying, I must hold myself and my residents back, quiet our itchy fingers, and acknowledge that we find ourselves in the uncomfortable position of waiting for nature to take its course.”
”….I believe we did right by our patient. We acknowledged that we couldn’t save her, and resisted the urge to treat her untreatable disease — and instead treated her suffering.”
Jessica Nutik Zitter is a critical care and palliative care physician at Highland Hospital in Oakland, Calif. She is writing a book about her work, and is featured in “Extremis,” a documentary by Dan Krauss, which debuts