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Donya Currie is the editor of The Free Lance-Star's Healthy Life section and Healthy Life Virginia newsletter.

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Health news: A nasty debate, Sibshops and an alcohol quiz

“You would have been hung …

Is it fair to compare a geriatrician to a Nazi if he suggests stopping IV fluids for a patient who has suffered a major stroke and has stated in writing that she doesn’t want to be kept alive by any artificial means, including hydration?

Dr. Daniel Matlock, a Colorado geriatrician, has written about this situation at geripal.org/2012/03/being-accused-of-murder.html. Matlock wrote that after he suggested withdrawing IV fluids for the stroke patient, a colleague told him, “You would have been hung in World War II for doing what you are doing now.”

He’s still infuriated. “Frankly, I wanted to just drop the gloves and go at it with fists. I still do,” he wrote.

Matlock’s piece raises provocative questions about care for seriously ill patients and highlights the clashes that can take place when health care professionals disagree. There’s a longer discussion of Matlock’s piece, and palliative care, on The New Old Age blog at nytimes.com.

Do you drink too much?

It’s Alcohol Awareness Month, and if you’ve ever wondered whether your drinking (or that of a loved one) is problematic, consider participating in a quick, online assessment. The screening questionnaire asks about how often you drink, whether you’ve felt guilty after drinking and whether you need to drink in the morning, among other questions.

You can find the alcohol quiz here: mentalhealthscreening.org/screening/HDYS

Workshop for kids whose siblings have special needs

The next in a series of Sibshops will be held April 21 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Fredericksburg United Methodist Church for kids in first through fifth grades who have a brother or sister with a special need.

Participants get to engage in fun games and activities while also getting the chance to talk and bond with kids who understand what it’s like to have a sibling with special challenges.

Cost to attend is $15 for one child or $25 per family. Registration by April 16 is a must; contact Jenny Fain at 540/373-2559 or jfain@cildrc.org. Scholarships are available.

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