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Dr. Muriel Gillick is a clinical professor in the Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Her scholarly interests are in medical ethics, care near the end of life, and health policy affecting older individuals. In addition to publishing articles in the medical literature on these topics, she has written four books for a general audience discussing ethical, medical, and policy issues arising in old age. Her most recent book is The Denial of Aging: Perpetual Youth, Eternal Life, and Other Dangerous Fantasies (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006). Dr. Gillick has a clinical practice with Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates providing palliative care consultation in the office, the home and several teaching hospitals, the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dr. Gillick carries out her scholarly work at the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, a health services research organization. Her blog is Life in the End Zone.

Pulling the Plug on DNR Orders

Muriel Gillick | June 2, 2014
Recently, a friend commented that she was not sure whether or not to agree to a DNR order for her 90-year-old mother. Complicating her decision was the knowledge that her mother had chosen a DNR status when she was cognitively intact, but then reversed her decision at the time of acute illness, believing that DNR meant she would not receive vigorous medical treatment. This is incorrect, and physicians are confused as well...