New York Mesothelioma Lawyer Supports Research Into ‘Dignity-Driven Decision Making’ for Advanced Illness Patients
New York, NY, July 20, 2012 — New York mesothelioma lawyer Joseph W. Belluck said today that a recent health policy article on “dignity-driven decision making” underscores the need to explore all possible options for providing the best care and treatment for patients with advance illness.
“We strongly support research into new and innovative ways for improving care for those who have been afflicted with devastating diseases such as mesothelioma,” said Belluck, whose nationally recognized New York personal injury firm focuses on mesothelioma and other asbestos exposure cases.
“The dignity-driven decision making model is an example of the type of innovation that can benefit patients and their families as they experience the most difficult of times,” he said. “It appears to balance a patient’s wishes with the doctor’s responsibilities, and it’s one of many strategies that need to be explored for patients.”
In the article, published in the June 2012 edition of Health Affairs, authors Bruce C. Vladeck and Erin Westphal point to the “widespread perception among health professionals, members of the general public, and policy makers that the [U.S.] health care system does not do nearly as good a job as it should” in providing humane and effective care for people with advance illness, which would include mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining of the chest and abdomen. It is typically associated with exposure to asbestos, a naturally occurring heat- and fire-resistant mineral fiber that has been used in a variety of industrial and consumer products.
Many mesothelioma victims manifest symptoms of the disease years or even decades after exposure to asbestos in the workplace. It is eventually fatal and claims the lives of thousands of Americans each year.
Vladeck and Westphal describe a dignity-driven decision making model for patients with such advanced illnesses. They call it “a template rather than a recipe” for improving care.
The model calls for doctors and other healthcare providers to respect and honor a patient’s autonomy, preferences and idiosyncrasies without relinquishing their medical professional responsibilities.
For instance, providing care in the patient’s home instead of at a hospital or doctor’s office could be an example of dignity-driven care, the article says.
“We remain hopeful that a cure for mesothelioma will be found, and we are encouraged to see continued improvement in the treatment and care for mesothelioma patients, including dignity-driven treatment and care,” Belluck said.
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