Ask Doctor Death
Ask Doctor Death
Mar 21, 2020
EP. 5: Death and the Corona Virus: Truth, Triage and Moral Injury
Play • 45 min

This week we talk with Christopher Kerr MD, medical director of Hospice Buffalo, who is conducting breakthrough research on the dreams and visions of the dying. But instead of dreams, today we’re talking about a nightmare, as the Corona virus spreads through the world, and life as we know it grinds to a halt.

Here are some top takeaways from our conversation:
How we can help the medical establishment cope with the crisis:  

Make sure that you and your loved ones have your end-of-life plans in place. If a medically-fragile patient comes into the hospital with a “comfort care only” order, it relieves the staff of the moral dilemma involved in triage decisions, and frees up resources for other patients.  


Key topics we’re addressing: 

  • How do individual citizens prepare for the reality of potential mass deaths?

  • Hospice can help by increasing efforts to educate the public about end-of-life planning.

  • Triage: Who gets a ventilator, and who doesn’t?

  • Length of life vs. quality of life


Top quotes from our conversation: 

  • Dying is more than a medical equation. It’s the closing of a life

  • In the ER, they’re not going to stop and have a 90-minute conversation about your end-of-life wishes. You’re gonna have plastic down your throat in minutes. 

  • If you’re on the hospice side of the fence, you see the end consequences of medical interventions without full regard for harm.


Relevant websites and resources: 


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ASK DOCTOR DEATH is a production of The Conference on Death and Afterlife Studies

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