Photo by Mrs. Logic, via Flickr

We continue our series on death and dying in the 21st century by turning our attention today to the growing field of palliative care. This kind of medicine actively cares for people with life-threatening and terminal diseases, working to effectively transition between treatments focused on a cure to managing symptoms in order to maximize quality of life and respect patient wishes.

'Camp Lloyd' Helps Grieving Kids Process Loss

Oct 1, 2012
Photo courtesy of Camp Lloyd

As we've explored so far in our death and dying in the 21st century series, adults, frankly, don't like to talk about dying. So it comes as no surprise then that most adults avoid the topic of death with children - perhaps even going so far as to think kids don't know what death is.

Stop in at a town or county meeting in western Wisconsin, and frac sand mining is likely to top the agenda - namely, balancing the demands of a mining operation with concerns of residents.

We continue our exploration of frac sand mining that is sweeping western Wisconsin landscapes.

The High Cost of Dying in the 21st Century

Sep 28, 2012
By Boris Rasin, via Flickr

It’s no secret that health care in this country costs a lot. That’s especially true at the end of life. A new study indicates a quarter of Medicare recipients exhaust their entire savings and more on out-of-pocket health care expenses during the last five years of their lives.

This goes along with previous numbers that have shown that the last few years of life are the most expensive, medically speaking.

Remembering the Initial Emancipation Proclamation

Sep 28, 2012
Courtesy of LOC

"That...all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free..." We know those words: they're from the opening lines of the Emancipation Proclamation, which upon being issued by President Abraham Lincoln, went into effect January 1, 1863.

Towns and counties in western Wisconsin are scrambling to keep up with the demand for its silica sand. Some residents celebrate the jobs and commerce the mines bring; others worry about their environment and rural quality of life.

This week on Lake Effect, producer Stephanie Lecci has been exploring issues surrounding death and dying. While death is as old as time itself, the study of it is considerably younger. The relatively new and growing field of thanatology - that is, the study of death, from the Greek word "thanatos" - extends beyond just the medical aspects to dying. Rather, it crosses boundaries through interdisciplinary fields. And as technologies in medicine and society advance, so does the research.

P McConnell

One remaining point of contention in Wisconsin's wolf hunt is the law's allowance for dogs to be used to trail or track wolves. The Natural Resources Board on Wednesday denied the DNR permission to draft emergency rules so dogs could be used this first year.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services

This week, Lake Effect producer Stephanie Lecci is exploring issues surrounding death and dying in the 21st century. Indeed, the questions surrounding end-of-life care today are much different from the way they were in the past. Technology is allowing us to live longer with more disease, and to sustain life even when we are no longer able to communicate our wishes.

As we heard yesterday, that can put a lot of stress on caregivers making proxy decisions. But how did we get here? And what do we have to consider when we try to lay out our wishes ahead of time?