Barbara Bush's end-of-life decision stirs debate about "comfort care"

- Former first lady Barbara Bush died Tuesday night at her home in Houston at age 92. Just days before her death, the announcement that she was seeking “comfort care” shed new light and stirred debate on what it means to stop terminal illness.

Mrs. Bush, the wife of former President George H.W. Bush, had been suffering from congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  After a public statement Sunday, the family announced she had decided “not to seek additional medical treatment and will focus on comfort care.”

Her announcement comes in the wake of a national effort to define and document patients’ wishes, and consider alternatives, before patients endure costly medical interventions aimed at prolonging life. Dr. Shira Amdur with Kelsey Seybold Clinic is an expert on the end-of-life decisions. 

Amdur clarified the concept of comfort care, "“Comfort care is a misconception that it’s offering no care which isn’t true. It’s transitioning the care from aggressive hospital-based procedures to aggressive symptom management with a focus on comfort."




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