Recent articles have proposed improving care at the end of life through new forms of advance directives, better advance care planning conversations, or artificial intelligence (AI).1-6 Although these novel efforts might prove marginally beneficial, they appear to miss the bigger picture. T. S. Eliot’s poem, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”7 (eAppendix in the Supplement), first published in 1915, considers the need to act under uncertainty and in the face of our certain mortality. The poem can help us to understand why personal and cultural transformation are more important than legal documents, planning, scripted conversations, or AI.
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Sulmasy DP. Advance Care Planning and “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”. JAMA Intern Med. Published online April 13, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.0796
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