My Public Service Announcement

Thursday, 18 Oct 2012 17:12

About Dr. Monica Williams-Murphy (120 Posts)

Dr. Monica Williams-Murphy is a Board Certified Emergency Medicine Physician, who practices in one of the largest emergency departments in the United States at Huntsville Hospital. Through her writing and speaking, she is devoted to transforming the end of life into a time of peace, closure and healing. Media Page

In an alternate universe, I would get on TV and as a public service announcement

I would say: “If you are very elderly or terminally Ill please don’t come to my ER To die, please instead choose to die in the safety and comfort of your own home.”

“I’ve got lots of drugs and needles and tubes at my place, but when you are dying expectantly, you may only need the drugs, and the hospice folks can bring these to you in your own home, absent my other offerings.”

“No, you don’t want to come to an ER to die, because chances are that you won’t be coming to mine and you won’t get a doctor like me- one who is willing to help you change your mind about the best place to die and best way to die.”

“Instead, you are likely to show up on some other ER doc’s busy shift, as just one of many people dying that night. Too busy with fighting off death at every turn, my well-meaning colleague will stick a tube in all of your body parts, needles in your neck or groin, and admit you to the ICU where you might die later that night after visiting hours are long over, all without blinking an eye.”

“You see, that’s what we ER doctors do unless you arrive with orders telling us to put away our weapons (DNR or AND orders). But, I contend there is a better way…”

In this alternate universe, if you heard my public service announcement and thought my advice to be sane or even sage, you would instead call your favorite local hospice nurse to come check you out.

If you were lucky enough to meet hospice admission criteria, they would admit you to your own home and bring over their friends: the social workers, therapists, chaplains and volunteers, to help organize your last and greatest party. Instead of needles and tubes they will simply offer you relief in what ever form you need it (physical,emotional, or spiritual).

If you are very fortunate, you will slip on out of this world just before the party ends and just after everyone told you how much they love you and just how great your life has been.

Maybe, just maybe, one day you will turn on your TV and hear me say:” This is Dr. Monica Williams-Murphy and this is a public service announcement….”


Monica Williams-Murphy, MD

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