University of Wisconsin–Madison

Archive: Reuters features Dr. Gretchen Schwarze’s study on end-of-life decisions

Margaret L Schwarze, MD, Assistant Professor in the Division of Vascular Surgery, is the senior author of a significant study which characterizes surgeons’ beliefs and approaches to the use of an advance directive in the decision to perform high-risk operations.

Dr. Schwarze and her colleagues asked 912 surgeons who regularly perform risky operations 14 questions on how they discuss a patient’s advance directives and whether the directives influence their decision to operate.

More than four out of every five surgeons discussed which forms of life support the patients would like to limit. But only about half asked specifically about the patient’s advance directive, which can include restricting the use of feeding tubes and ventilators to keep a person alive.

Click here to read more on this study.