Nina Ainslie, MD
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Ainslie N. The Dying Experience. Ann Intern Med. 1997;127:242. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-127-3-199708010-00015
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1997;127(3):242.
TO THE EDITOR:
Dr. Lynn and colleagues  present, but do not discuss in depth, a paradox that I believe partially explains the failure of the Study to Understand Prognoses and Preferences for Outcomes and Risks of Treatment (SUPPORT) . Most patients in this study stated that they preferred comfort care, but 56% of patients received aggressive life-prolonging care in the last few days of life. nevertheless, in only 10% of cases did surrogates report that care was at odds with patient preference. The other 90% of patients wanted the care they received. This discrepancy suggests that in principle, people want a peaceful, dignified, comfortable death but that in reality, they do not want it quite yet. They prefer life-prolonging care in the hope that their peaceful, dignified, comfortable death can occur later. As shown by the 53% of study patients who survived for 6 months , that hope is often justified.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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