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Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End
Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming the dangers of childbirth, injury, and disease from harrowing to manageable. But when it comes to the inescapable realities of aging and death, what medicine can do often runs counter to what it should.Through eye-opening research and gripping stories of his own patients and family, Gawande reveals the suffering this dynamic has produced. Nursing homes, devoted above all to safety, battle with residents over the food they are allowed to eat and the choices they are allowed to make. Doctors, uncomfortable discussing patients' anxieties about death, fall back on false hopes and treatments that are actually shortening lives instead of improving them.In his bestselling books, Atul Gawande, a practicing surgeon, has fearlessly revealed the struggles of his profession. Now he examines its ultimate limitations and failures - in his own practices as well as others' - as life draws to a close. Riveting, honest, and humane, Being Mortal shows how the ultimate goal is not a good death but a good life - all the way to the very end.
The Inevitable: Dispatches on the Right to Die
A riveting, incisive, and wide-ranging book about the Right to Die movement, and the doctors, patients, and activists at the heart of this increasingly urgent issue.More states and countries are passing right-to-die laws that allow the sick and suffering to end their lives at pre-planned moments, with the help of physicians. But even where these laws exist, they leave many people behind. The Inevitable moves beyond margins of the law to the people who are meticulously planning their final hours - far from medical offices, legislative chambers, hospital ethics committees, and polite conversation. It also shines a light on the people who help them: loved ones and, sometimes, clandestine groups on the Internet that together form the “euthanasia underground.”Katie Engelhart, a veteran journalist, focuses on six people representing different aspects of the right to die debate. Two are doctors: a California physician who runs a boutique assisted death clinic and has written more lethal prescriptions than anyone else in the U.S.; an Australian named Philip Nitschke who lost his medical license for teaching people how to end their lives painlessly and peacefully at “DIY Death” workshops. The other four chapters belong to people who said they wanted to die because they were suffering unbearably - of old age, chronic illness, dementia, and mental anguish - and saw suicide as their only option.Spanning North America, Europe, and Australia, The Inevitable offers a deeply reported and fearless look at a morally tangled subject. It introduces readers to ordinary people who are fighting to find dignity and authenticity in the final hours of their lives.
That Good Night: Life and Medicine in the Eleventh Hour
As the American born daughter of immigrants, Dr. Sunita Puri knew from a young age that the gulf between her parents' experiences and her own was impossible to bridge, save for two elements: medicine and spirituality. Between days spent waiting for her mother, an anesthesiologist, to exit the OR, and evenings spent in conversation with her parents about their faith, Puri witnessed the tension between medicine's impulse to preserve life at all costs and a spiritual embrace of life's temporality. And it was that tension that eventually drew Puri, a passionate but unsatisfied medical student, to palliative medicine--a new specialty attempting to translate the border between medical intervention and quality-of-life care.Interweaving evocative stories of Puri's family and the patients she cares for, That Good Night is a stunning meditation on impermanence and the role of medicine in helping us to live and die well, arming readers with information that will transform how we communicate with our doctors about what matters most to us.
The Conversation: A Revolutionary Plan for End-of-Life Care
Volandes, Angelo E.
There is an unspoken dark side of American medicine--keeping patients alive at any price. Two thirds of Americans die in healthcare institutions, tethered to machines and tubes at bankrupting costs, even though research shows that most prefer to die at home in comfort, surrounded by loved ones. Dr. Angelo E. Volandes believes that a life well lived deserves a good ending. Through the stories of seven patients and seven very different end-of-life experiences, he demonstrates that what people with a serious illness, who are approaching the end of their lives, need most is not new technologies but one simple thing: The Conversation. He argues for a radical re-envisioning of the patient-doctor relationship and offers ways for patients and their families to talk about this difficult issue to ensure that patients will be at the center and in charge of their medical care.It might be the most important conversation you ever have.
Dear Life: A Doctor's Story of Love and Loss
In Dear Life, palliative care specialist Dr. Rachel Clarke recounts her professional and personal journey to understand not the end of life, but life at its end.Death was conspicuously absent during Rachel's medical training. Instead, her education focused entirely on learning to save lives, and was left wanting when it came to helping patients and their families face death. She came to specialize in palliative medicine because it is the one specialty in which the quality, not quantity of life truly matters.In the same year she started to work in a hospice, Rachel was forced to face tragedy in her own life when her father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He'd inspired her to become a doctor, and the stories he had told her as a child proved formative when it came to deciding what sort of medicine she would practice. But for all her professional exposure to dying, she remained a grieving daughter.Dear Life follows how Rachel came to understand - as a child, as a doctor, as a human being - how best to help patients in the final stages of life, and what that might mean in practice.
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