Category: Medicine Death

An Unexpected Visitor to Yosemite

WILLIAM DEVERELL, professor of history, USC Dornsife.

This op-ed originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

There’s a terrible irony lurking in the recent news of the hantavirus outbreak at Yosemite National Park, which has killed three visitors and sickened half a dozen more since mid-June. Part of the backdrop of the 1864 act that established Yosemite as essentially the nation’s first national park (that language would not be used until 1872 in the founding of Yellowstone National Park) had everything to do with health and healing in the latter years of the Civil War. We’d do well to note that from today’s vantage of being in the middle of the sesquicentennial years of the war.

How Doctors Die

KEN MURRAY, clinical assistant professor of family medicine at the Keck School of Medicine at USC:

This op-ed was originally published at Zocalo Public Square.

“Years ago, Charlie, a highly respected orthopedist and a mentor of mine, found a lump in his stomach. He had a surgeon explore the area, and the diagnosis was pancreatic cancer. This surgeon was one of the best in the country. He had even invented a new procedure for this exact cancer that could triple a patient’s five-year-survival odds—from 5 percent to 15 percent—albeit with a poor quality of life. Charlie was uninterested. He went home the next day, closed his practice, and never set foot in a hospital again. He focused on spending time with family and feeling as good as possible. Several months later, he died at home. He got no chemotherapy, radiation, or surgical treatment. Medicare didn’t spend much on him.