Death and Dying
4:09 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

New Technology Means Staving Off Death, More End-of-Life Questions

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?

Medical technology, like feeding tubes, allow us to live longer than we otherwise would, but do they make end-of-life care decisions more complicated?
Credit Photo courtesy of U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services

Dr. Arthur Derse is the director of the Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities at the Medical College of Wisconsin. He tells Stephanie Lecci why the dying process is so much more complicated today.

Dr. Derse discusses the limits to the technologies we use to prolong life.