But it isn’t always this way. In some areas, we’ve managed to muddy the waters and as a result we deliver worse care. End of life care is one example of this. Dr Atul Gawande, the esteemed Harvard surgeon and public health doctor, touches on this in great detail in his most recent book, Being Mortal. In too many instances, we offer care even when there is evidence to suggest that it will make little or no difference. In a culture where what you do often counts for more than why you do it, it seems that the prevailing thinking amongst many doctors is that one should always appear to be ‘doing something’. Non-treatment is seen as being against convention, giving-up or opening oneself to litigation. Dr Gawande illustrates the futility of offering treatment in certain situations when he cites research done at Harvard that compared chemotherapy with non-treatment in a group of patients with palliative lung cancer. The results were both shocking and awakening. Those that did not receive chemotherapy went on to live with less problems, had no side effects (remember they couldn’t get side effects for something they didn’t receive) and on average they went on to live longer!