Review of decision making following Hurricane Katrina

Last weekend the New York Times published an excellent article by Sheri Fink about the events that transpired at the Memorial Medical Center in the days following Hurricane Katrina.

Sheri researched this story since the hurricane four years ago. As I read the 13,000 word article, I understood more clearly the incredible challenges facing doctors, nurses, patients, and family members during this crisis.

It is a good thing for us to revisit any such situation and examine how to improve our response in future crisis, however, I am personally unable to criticize any individual for their commitment, caring, endurance, and the challenging decisions that were carried out in the most difficult of circumstances. I also empathize with patients and families who did not understand decisions that were made.Full Post:   Read More

Family History

I could not resist talking about my great grandmother. “Granny” a.k.a. Katherine MacDonnell lived until she was nearly 102 years old. She was feisty, determined and wonderful. As a teenager I cared for her while I worked in a small “rest home” caring for six other elderly persons. I prepared meals, made beds, did laundry and provided a bit of personal care. How I loved to bathe her wrinkled skin and help her get in and out of the bath tub. I enjoyed her talking about the “old folks” who lived there… all of them at least a decade younger than her.Full Post:   Read More


Over the past few years I have been developing a presentation titled “Unprecedented! We have never died like this!” This is about the changes in the way many of us are dying (by chronic illness), the challenges of death by chronic illness (e.g. difficulty in prognosticating), the declining number of caregivers, and the coming of the Baby Boomers! Today I read an article with global numbers citing this problem:

“According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), we are aging – not just as individuals or communities but also as a world. In 2006, almost 500 million people worldwide were 65 and older. By 2030, that total is projected to increase to 1 billion – one in every eight of the earth’s inhabitants. Significantly, the most rapid increases in the 65-and-older population are occurring in developing countries, which will see a jump of 140 percent by 2030. For the first time in history, people age 65 and over will outnumber children under age 5. ….” Retrieved: July 2, 2009 Aging Population Growth Spotlights Training Needs of Health and Mental Health Professionals. Dr. L. Christie.Full Post:   Read More

Collaborative Blog Appeal

As a scientist, writer and educator, I am working to find ways to encourage Forum posts and comments that go past the pithy- ‘nice work dudette!’ and biTe into the meat of the topic.
How to get the lurkers out and commenting?
I am constantly surprised that in this seemingly anonymous environment that so many choose to remain…well,..completely anonymous.

I have chosen to enter (albeit late) the 31 Day Comment Challenge and engage in blogging with this community of seemingly seasoned bloggers (be gentle – Ima newbie!) to see what fine morsels I can glean from the postings and exercises.Full Post:   Read More