The Bucket List

A recently published article highlighted using “the bucket list” as a simple framework to engage patients about their health care decision making and its potential impact on the patient’s life goals.1 This week I was consulted to see a patient who declined stem cell transplantation for leukemia, despite reasonable odds of survival and against the wishes of both the team and her family. Tearfully, she relayed that she felt strongly she would not survive the transplant given her poor tolerance to chemotherapy. She looked at the picture on the wall of a pristine white beach with aqua water and sea oats blowing in the breeze and said, “I want to be there. I wrote my own bucket list and that is what I will fight for. I am not afraid to die.”

Kittelson SM, Barker, P.C., Markham MJ. The Bucket List. J Palliat Med. 2020 Mar;23(3):427, doi: 10.1089/jpm.2019.0435