After the Camera ran last week’s column, “End of Life, Part 1,” I was deeply moved and gratified by the many responses I received from readers. Many of them told personal stories — some positive, some disastrous, all heartbreaking — about complications at the end of life for someone they love.
I heard about horrible situations in which medical personnel, for whatever reasons, refused to honor the patient’s and the family’s wishes to withdraw treatment. I heard from one who told the story of her beloved brother, who was on a ventilator but fully conscious — and who instructed his family, via eye blinks, to allow him to die in peace.
Other readers were astonished to learn that, unlike on TV, CPR rarely works and typically results in painful injuries.
And if there was a thread running through them all, it was simply that they want to know more about how, if possible, to ensure their wishes will be honored when the time comes for them to die.
To that end, I was privileged to interview Kim Mooney, director of community education for HospiceCare of Boulder and Broomfield Counties, one of the oldest hospice organizations of its kind in the United States. Kim has been working to educate people about end-of-life issues for decades, talking about the critical importance played by communication when it comes to expressing your wishes.