Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Book Review: Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

Title: Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End
Author: Atul Gawande
Enjoyment Rating: ****
Source: Hardback Copy
Content Alert: A clean read

I don't have much up-close and personal experience with death. I can count the number of dead people I've seen on a couple of fingers and I've never been with someone as their spirit passed from this life. Because of Ed's profession, and after watching several of our grandparents undergo a slow decline in quality of life, I do have a fairly clear picture of how I do and don't want the end of my life to look. According to Atul Gawande's important book, Being Mortal, the process of aging and dying has become so separated from most of our daily lives and so messed up by the idea that doctors should prolong life as long as possible, that the end of many people's lives is much more difficult than it may have been in the past.

Gawande delves into personal experience (sharing stories about the deaths of his grandfather, his wife's grandmother and his own father), as well as a wealth of other stories about people in all different kinds of end-of-life care, ranging from hospitals to hospice to living with family to assisted living and nursing homes (or a combination of several of the above). Gawande's mission is to preserve quality of life for people at the end of their lives and to help their families have the support they need to make this happen. The book is engagingly-written and important, and will definitely help readers know about what the options are for end of life care and how they can integrate them into their lives and the lives of people they love.

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