Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Americans don't know how to die

Atul Gawande's articles on healthcare for the New Yorker are all top-shelf, but his most recent piece on modern medicine's difficulty in dealing with patients who are likely to die is a doozy and a must-read...

I read this magnificent piece at the bank while opening an account (thank heavens with someone else who was talking to the banker at the time), and just started crying. Shook my soul.

"Sara Thomas Monopoli was pregnant with her first child when her doctors learned that she was going to die. It started with a cough and a pain in her back... Continued here - PDF

Thanks for the reminder, Jason.


Anonymous said...

Wow, Kim! It was well worth the time to read this long, painful essay. I am a widow with one adult child. My dear son is coming from California to Florida for a lovely visit next weekend. Among other things, we will have a serious talk about my wishes.

At 62, I am "young" and healthy, but the reality is that none of us are getting out of this alive. Though my personal goal is to die as healthy as possible, it may not neccessarily happen that way. I want to spare my only precious child, with no siblings to help him make decisions, from being saddled with these tortutous end-of-life burdens.

Thanks again for sending this out,

Trish Powers

grandslambert said...

Every living person in America, in fact, every living soul on this planet, needs to read this. I have watched so many family members die this way - slowly, painfully, tubed and drugged, all the while wondering why.

My grandfather wanted to go years before he did - but the family kept the treatments going.

My grandmother died several years before her body did - prolonged by tubes, drugs, and other needless therapies.

My mother-in-law died a month before the family allowed her to go. They knew she did not want these treatments - she was a hospice nurse - but that cared little to them.

Live each day as if it is your first. Learn new things, try something different. Do not fight for the last day, fight for a great day, today.