With the End in Mind
Dying, Death, and Wisdom in an Age of Denial
This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.
For readers of Atul Gawande and Paul Kalanithi, a palliative care doctor's breathtaking stories from 30 years spent caring for the dying.
Modern medical technology is allowing us to live longer and fuller lives than ever before. And for the most part, that is good news. But with changes in the way we understand medicine come changes in the way we understand death. Once a familiar, peaceful, and gentle -- if sorrowful -- transition, death has come to be something from which we shield our eyes, as we prefer to fight desperately against it rather than accept its inevitability.
Dr. Kathryn Mannix has studied and practiced palliative care for thirty years. In With the End in Mind, she shares beautifully crafted stories from a lifetime of caring for the dying, and makes a compelling case for the therapeutic power of approaching death not with trepidation, but with openness, clarity, and understanding. Weaving the details of her own experiences as a caregiver through stories of her patients, their families, and their distinctive lives, Dr. Mannix reacquaints us with the universal, but deeply personal, process of dying.
With insightful meditations on life, death, and the space between them, With the End in Mind describes the possibility of meeting death gently, with forethought and preparation, and shows the unexpected beauty, dignity, and profound humanity of life coming to an end.
Straight talk about dying
As an experienced palliative care physician, the author leads the reader through a series of actual (but disguised) cases, where dying patients are able to make peace with themselves, and their loved ones, before they die.
This “process” requires a significant number of medical staff, such as palliative care nurses, psychologists, and caregivers, acting as a team.
The author is not so much critical of the American way of death, with its often heroic application of resources, rather she seeks to present an alternative to such invasive treatment and suggests a more gentle and, she believes, more peaceful way to die.
There are other books on the subject of dying, but I would recommend this to anyone wishing to better understand the process the author embraces.