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Tom Brokaw: What He Wants at Life’s End

Watch his TEDx talk with his physician daughter, Jennifer


What someone wants at the end of life can be hard to pin down in words. Even a phrase like “no heroic measures” leaves family and physicians wondering what steps to take and when to stop, as Jennifer Brokaw, an emergency medicine physician, has pointed out to her better-known father, Tom.

Watch as TV newsman and author Tom Brokaw and his daughter talk about his end-of-life wishes and how their family has come to believe in the importance of advance care planning. Their TEDx talk at Stanford University is a few years old, but it just gets more relevant with time. As Jennifer Brokaw says, talking as a family is even more vital as medicine grows increasingly specialized.

“We’re not going to be talking to one physician” at the end of life, she says. “We’re going to be talking to a lot of -ologists,” who will give families a more fragmented prognosis to base decisions on.

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