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Our blog exists because we know you can make a difference in the lives of others. Our goal is to help and educate so you are able to make informed decisions about very serious issues of life and death. We provide the latest up-to-date news specific to health care delivery and death issues, inspire and encourage you to have meaningful conversations specific to these issues, to continue to persevere in the most difficult of situations and circumstances be it a serious illness, making life and death decisions, dealing with correctional systems, hospitals, health care providers, assisted living residences and nursing homes.

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Ghost Boy

Imagine if you can, not being to walk or sit up without being strapped in a wheelchair or a regular chair. Imagine further that you’re unable to use your arms and hands and you cannot speak. But your mind is alive and active. Your senses are enhanced. Now imagine even further if you can, the frustration felt when you hear people talking about you and asking questions of you that you want to answer but can’t. Imagine being left on the floor unable to move other than where someone has left you. And imagine being abused in every way—mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. If you imagine powerfully enough it will render you speechless and bring you to tears. This is the story of Martin Pistorius. The book he wrote is called Ghost Boy.

Ghost Boy is and should be required reading for each and every nurse, doctor, home health worker, caregiver, every individual family member who has a loved one who is disabled in any way, whether in a nursing home, assisted living, a day care-center, at home, and those left institutionalized.

It should be read by every single person in the world because each and every one of us needs to intimately know and be constantly spiritually reminded how self-centered, how cruel, how rude and abusive—both physically and verbally each one of us can be in the smallest of ways in word and in deed, resulting in speechless fear, despair, and loneliness others are made to feel, and to recognize the abuses in those whom you choose to “watch over” your loved one. One nurse professional teaching nursing classes wrote to me and said, “It’s a great book, I give my students extra credit if they read it.” I replied, “You have missed the mark completely; your requirement is substandard and grossly inadequate. They should be afforded no extra credit at all. It should be required reading!”

Martin has laid open the world unseen and personally has left me speechless at the power of the unspoken word—spoken through his life, for which I am eternally grateful.

Critical Thinking—It’s A Requirement

Critical thinking is the ability to apply reasoning and logic to unfamiliar ideas, opinions, and situations. Thinking critically involves seeing things in an open-minded way. It is a skill that makes it possible for you to look past your own biases, prejudices and beliefs to better view and understand varying circumstances and situations that you may find yourself in. It’s a discipline that challenges what you believe, what you claim to believe and what you can defend. It’s imperative that you defend your opinions and your basis of argument in everything you do.

It’s the conscious, deliberate, rational assessment of claims according to clearly identified standards of proof. It requires being objective and impersonal while at the same time, recognizing that personal experience and emotion play a part in the assessment of the claims asserted. It strengthens claims that are supported by logical reasoning, expert testimony, and personal and professional experience. It involves also rational conversation, the use of reason to order, clarify, identify and articulate your basic view of reality and truth according to particular standards of evidence. You need this skill in life in general and specifically in dealing with life and death decisions that you will be faced with in your life and the lives of others.

Excerpted from KRusso, Fighting for Life-Tricks and Traps of the Death Investigation System, A Guide For Families Navigating Through Death in Prisons, Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Jails (The Wrongful Death & Injury Institute Publishers). Copyright © 2011 KRusso/The Wrongful Death & Injury Institute. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

What Critical Thinking Requires

The way you think matters. How you make decisions about your life and the lives of others depends upon your ability to think. Without cultivating the discipline of critical thinking our ability to address and handle difficult situations is severely compromised and most likely will result in negative, incorrect or substandard outcomes. The lack of this skill becomes glaringly apparent in the way families handle and address the issues surrounding life and death decisions and in handling sudden deaths.

To succeed in thinking critically requires the application of appropriate standards of evidence and intellectual maturity. It demands a stick-to-it attitude. One has to be able to adapt to changing situations and circumstances and not be straightjacketed by convention nor easily intimidated. It takes work. It requires courage. It requires tact. It requires spiritual maturity. It requires practice. Lots of it.

We human beings are always attempting to do or undo something based on a personal bias, prejudice or belief that we refuse to face, let alone admit we have. The result of this failure leads to an immature, irresponsible, and faulty thought pattern that exhibits itself in cheap sound bites and overused clichés. Rather than devote personal time researching and analyzing an issue in the light of a belief, prejudice or bias, it’s easier to lazily hide under a cliché that best illustrates a personal belief system rather than have to defend one.

Here are some basic practices you can put to use in your day to day conversations that will not only help you in your thinking and decision making process but will aid you in detecting when it’s absent in others.

  • Learn to distinguish what’s important from what’s not according to reevaluated principles.
  • Pay careful attention to the meaning of terms. Define them. Don’t presume or assume.
  • If you don’t understand a process, or a protocol or procedure, a definition or comment—say so.
  • Don’t hesitate to seek out others who have more knowledge of a subject matter than you do.
  • Question claims that are inconsistent with your own experiences.
  • Be prepared to defend your own claims.
  • Analyze your motives and of others without resorting to character analysis and assassination.
  • Make a distinction between the arguer and the argument.
  • Respect differing points of view when they’re reasonably defended.
  • Welcome legitimate criticism by staying open to the possibility of error.
  • Ask important and relevant questions tactfully. Wait for an answer. Don’t interrupt. Listen.
  • Don’t make a judgment until both sides of the issue have been heard.
  • Devote time to research issues for yourself. Know what you’re talking about.
  • Remind yourself that those you disagree with believe they’re as reasonable as you are.
  • Be able to point out faulty reasoning and defend your position.

Excerpted from KRusso, Fighting for Life-Tricks and Traps of the Death Investigation System, A Guide For Families Navigating Through Death in Prisons, Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Jails (The Wrongful Death & Injury Institute Publishers). Copyright © 2011 KRusso/The Wrongful Death & Injury Institute. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

updated 08172016

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