About the book
The modern healthcare system has become proficient at staving off death with aggressive interventions. And yet, eventually everyone dies--and although most Americans say they would prefer to die peacefully at home, more than half of all deaths take place in hospitals or health care facilities. At the End of Life tackles this conundrum head on. These twenty-two compelling personal-medical narratives explore death, dying and palliative care, and reveal the inner workings of a system in which doctors, patients and their loved ones battle to hang on--and to let go.
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Praise for At the End of Life
"Truly gripping narratives that illuminate a hard truth about death in our culture: it is always so complicated, so much thornier than we think. ... [The] authors, and editor Lee Gutkind, deserve credit for being unsparingly honest about doctoring, about decision-making, about their own ambivalent emotions. They have a lot to teach us."
~New York Times
"An impressive, meaningful, and often courageous chorus of voices tackling a once-taboo subject with dignity..."
"Uplifting" and "beautifully written."
"A gripping and passionate account of how we face the final rite of passage. These stories mine the agility of the human spirit, and will not easily be forgotten."
~Danielle Ofri, author of Medicine in Translation and Singular Intimacies
"These essays bring honesty, clarity and even beauty to the end of life... There is no false hope, no glib gloss on the messy, awful process of dying. Yet death does not have the last word--love and compassion, gratitude and self-knowledge are among the bitter fruits of these essays."
~Thomas R. Cole, author of The Journey of Life: A Cultural History of Aging in America
"Moving testimonies from both skilled and experienced professionals who encounter death regularly and from devoted and exhausted caregivers who know it intimately. All bear witness to the ineffable mystery of dying and to the humbling reality of what one young resident describes as 'our own breakable humanity.' Ranging from the philosophical to the confessional, these essays render the messiness and the wonder at the end of life. An inspiration and a model for those of us who teach reflective and creative writing to health professions students."
~Therese Jones, Director, Arts and Humanities in Healthcare Program, University of Colorado-Denver
"A rich trove of experience painfully and painstakingly acquired in the company of the dying. Its deeply humane voices--like Lazarus, come back to tell us all--offer poignant, thoughtful, and boldly honest insight into the reality of the many ways in which we die and into the costs and rewards of being present for death."
~Margaret Mohrmann, Director, Clinical Ethics Program, University of Virginia Medical School
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Editor's Note: Frank at the Piano
Foreword: New Approaches to End-of-Life Care
Karen Wolk Feinstein
Introduction: Last Days
On Bearing Witness
Insights in the Rearview Mirror
Phyllis Galley Westover
Larry D. Cripe
Eve Joseph - author interview
Catherine A. Musemeche - author interview
Living and Dying Well
A Better Place
Valerie Seiling Jacobs
Waiting (to Go Home)
Life and Death and 911
Snowing in Krakow
Do You Remember
Patricia McCarthy - author interview
The Business of Grief
This Is Blood
Sandell Morse - author interview
A Figurative Death
The Measure of Time
Amanda J. Redig
The Deep Truth
The Resurrection of Wonder Woman
Eleanor Vincent - author interview
Twelve Breaths a Minute
Gulchin A. Ergun - author interview