May 22, 2020
Public Health alumnus Dr. Charles Pozner '84, an emergency physician and executive director of the Neil and Elise Wallace STRATUS Center for Medical Simulation at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, is the co-author of an opinion article published in the Washington Post. Pozner and fellow emergency physicians Drs. Megan Ranney and Jeremy Faust advise the public to help hospitals from being overwhelmed in the face of the ongoing pandemic by completing medical directives about end-of-life care now.
“Now more than ever, medical directives about end-of-life care are essential, especially for the elderly, who in the coming weeks and months may find themselves requiring emergency attention, whether for covid-19 or some other illness,” they write.
They urge healthcare workers and families to reopen conversations on the subject, for patients and families to record these preferences on paper and have them ready for communication with their doctors, and for doctors to respect patients’ wishes.
“We cannot fully control how many people will be infected in the coming weeks and months,” they write. “But through discussions with patients and their families, we can respect their wishes, potentially save lives and — most important — make difficult decisions in the light of day, not in the heat of the moment.”
In addition to his roles at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Pozner is an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He also serves as an advisory board member for the UMass Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences.