Ms. Berman talks about her choice of palliative care over invasive, non-productive treatments when she was diagnosed with terminal stage IV breast cancer. She emphasizes the importance of having an advance care directive, building more effective communications between clinicians and patients, and discussing informed preference instead of informed consent. The article also discusses patients' wishes in general and includes information on Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST), Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) and VitalTalk.
Ms. Berman’s decision has resulted in not just higher quality of life but more quantity of time as well. “My professional training and my work in the field of palliative care helped me to understand how important it was for me to integrate palliative treatment into my goals of care,” said Ms. Berman. “And it has allowed me to have a great life for 7 years. Palliative care is my best friend. I don’t know what I would have done without it.”