Words to live by.
Words to die by.
Really, what's the difference?
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
See also this review by Maria Popova
All boldface below are quotes from Dr. Gawande's book.
In Being Mortal, Dr. Gawande writes:
This is a book about the modern experience of mortality -- about what it’s like to be creatures who age and die, how medicine has changed the experience and how it hasn’t, where our ideas about how to deal with our finitude have got the reality wrong.
Our main take-aways from the book:
Quality of life is preferable to mere quantity for the vast majority of us.
Care should be determined - in discussion with one’s family, doctors and care-givers - by asking...
What is our understanding of the situation?
What do we fear?
What do we hope for?
What are the trade-offs we are willing to make?
What are the trade-offs we are not willing to make?
What is the best course of action which serves this understanding?
Consider, answer and communicate, if possible, before the onset of care…
Do you want to be resuscitated if your heart stops?
Do you want aggressive treatments such as intubation and mechanical ventilation?
Do you want antibiotics?
Do you want tube or intravenous feeding if you can’t eat on your own?
Hospice approaches and attitudes appear to serve the terminal patient much better than standard medical interventions.
In the Epilogue, Dr. Gawande writes:
We’ve been wrong about what our job is in medicine. We think our job is to ensure health and survival. But really it is larger than that. It is to enable well-being. And well-being is about the reasons one wishes to be alive.
Those reasons matter
not just at the end of life,
or when debility comes,
but all along the way.