Much to the producers’ amazement, all of the doctors had given the question significant thought and had very specific plans – none of which had anything to do with hospitals, nursing homes, and aggressive treatment.
Their answers teach us that few individuals are more familiar with the pros and cons of life sustaining treatment than doctors.
And, it begs the question, how can medical professionals help patients and families arrive at a similar destination – the destination of truly informed consent?
Important note: When Michael Bernhagen and Terry Kaldhusdal concluded filming of “Consider the Conversation 2” in February of 2014, they had an 86-minute documentary both felt was among the best end-of-life care films ever made. Unfortunately, PBS didn’t want anything longer than 56:46 (for scheduling reasons), so the producers had to make some difficult decisions about what to cut.
Ultimately, they decided shorten several chapters of the film as well as cut “How Doctors Die” and “Beware” (featuring the late Sherwin Nuland, MD giving advice to the young people of today wanting to become the doctors of tomorrow). As a consequence, neither chapter ever aired on public television.
In the fall of 2014, however, the producers decided to release the original version of the film, now known as the “Director’s cut”, on DVD.