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.
Identify all potential conflicts of interest that might be relevant to your comment.
Conflicts of interest comprise financial interests, activities, and relationships within the past 3 years including but not limited to employment, affiliation, grants or funding, consultancies, honoraria or payment, speaker's bureaus, stock ownership or options, expert testimony, royalties, donation of medical equipment, or patents planned, pending, or issued.
Err on the side of full disclosure.
If you have no conflicts of interest, check "No potential conflicts of interest" in the box below. The information will be posted with your response.
Not all submitted comments are published. Please see our commenting policy for details.
Sulmasy DP. Advance Care Planning and “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”. JAMA Intern Med. 2020;180(6):813–814. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.0796
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.
Create a personal account or sign in to: