Cancer Covered Blog

Begin With the End in Mind (part 1)

April 16th marked National Healthcare Decisions Day.

It’s intended to get people thinking about–and there’s no nice way to say this–dying.

“Why on earth would I want to do that?” I hear you saying. Well, you don’t. Not really. And neither do I. In fact, the only thing worse than thinking about dying is–never bothering to think about it at all.

Sound like a paradox?

Think about the following statistics:

  • 75% of Americans wish to die at home
  • 70% of Americans die in a hospital or nursing facility
  • 70% of Americans don’t have advanced directives

Stephen R. Covey, in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, tells us that to succeed at anything we first have to clearly state what we want. He calls it “beginning with the end in mind.” And studies clearly show that outlining your end-of-life wishes well in advance significantly increases the chances that things will happen your way.

I’m going to die one day and have some strong preferences about how that goes down. My wife Sara knows my preferences because we talk about it every few months. These conversations aren’t the downer you’d think they are. We’ve gotten pretty good at it.

Why is this such a priority for me? Because I’ve seen what happens without advance directives. And it’s devastating.

Dr. Mitch Winkler signature
J. Mitchell Winkler, MD

Mitch has boundless energy and an unyielding approach to finding the most suitable solutions for each of his patients.

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