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September 2014

Rescuing My Grandmothers

Author Affiliations
  • 1Rollins Emory School of Public Health, Atlanta, Georgia
JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(9):1432-1433. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.2702

It was midway through internal medicine residency when a fellow resident turned to me and said, “I’m done with this medical torture.” I knew exactly how he felt. We had been working furiously to care for very sick, elderly patients in the intensive care unit, performing invasive procedures, carefully selecting medications, and sometimes ordering the use of physical restraints when patients became delirious and agitated. I had felt uneasy about this care when it seemed futile, but I had been too overwhelmed and exhausted to challenge the status quo. Now, I could no longer avoid my own misgivings.

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