May 13, 2016 – Life Support


Anchor lead:  What can a play written by a physician about end of life issues tell us? Elizabeth Tracey reports

‘Life Support’ is the name of a play written by Madeline Leong, a palliative care expert at Johns Hopkins, that was recently performed. Leong says writing the play and having it performed publicly helped her to become aware of things that sometimes happen between physicians and patients.

Leong: Sometimes when we go in and see patients we’re constantly looking at the chart or information, and we’re not having that eye contact, simple things like that, or that your first instinct is to go for information or medical terms instead of just listening to somebody and interacting like a human.  :15

Leong says making the play available to broad audiences has another important message.

Leong: I think sometimes that even though there are different roles, the role of the patient or the role of the family and then the doctor’s role, we’re all on the same side.  But sometimes people are so focused on their own role that they don’t realize that we should all be on the same side of the table.  :12

Leong hopes ‘Life Support’ will enable people to have conversations about end of life issues, especially with regard to advance directives.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.