This is Science Today. A "good death" may seem like
a paradox, but according to Dr. Steve Pantilat, a
hospitalist at the University of California, San Francisco,
it's something everyone facing the end of life should
strive for with the help of their doctors, family
When we ask people, what's important to you at the
end of life? What families and patients tell us is
that they don't want to be in pain and they don't
want to suffer. They want to talk about illness and
death with their doctors and nurses. And they want
support. They want people to be there, to help them
through that time of life.
In a recent study on pain control, Pantilat found
that a doctor just acknowledging the patient is in
pain greatly influences how well it's controlled.
Doctors who said 'I want to get this patient out of
pain' were better. And finally, doctors who considered
themselves liberal with pain medications - that they
were willing to give them out - those doctors did
a better job of controlling pain as well. It may not
involve curing a disease, but there's always something
to do to relieve someone's symptoms.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.