What They’re Watching: Camille Collett, MD, MPH

Camille Collett, MD, MPH, is a faculty member at St. Marks Family Medicine Residency. She joins us in this edition of “What They’re Watching” to discuss end of life care.


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The order of life sustaining treatment is what medical physicians can fill out wit patients to find out, if their heart is stopped and if they’re not breathing, would they want CPR. And most people who are towards the end of their life, if asked that way, they say ‘If i’m already dead just leave me be, I would not want to have anything done to prolong my life at that point.’ Many people don’t want to be in pain, so they want treatment. But when we as physicians put ‘Do Not Resuscitate,’ some people get confused and think it means ‘Do Not Treat.’ So I’m trying to educate people that if you don’t want CPR when your heart is stopped and your not breathing, that we’re actually allowing a natural death.

My goal is for emergency medical people to have access to the medical orders of a patient when they have discussed it with their physician and they do not want to have CPR, they just want to be kept comfortable, then that is the goal. If they’re in agony when the’re called, they need to be treated. So, it’s only if their heart is stopped and their not breathing. But unfortunately, if a 93 year old collapses on the golf course and the emergency medical people are called, they are obligated to do CPR unless they have a medical order they can see. And a living will, which is an advance directive, that is actually not a medical order even though it might outline what our wishes are. That actually has to be brought to the hospital with them and the doctors review that with the patients and the patient’s family, and it’s a little bit late because by that time many people are in the intensive care unit and it’s very painful for the family members to watch their loved ones in that situation. So that’s one of the things I’m working on.”