Embracing Our Mortality: Hard Choices in an Age of Medical Miracles

Embracing Our Mortality: Hard Choices in an Age of Medical Miracles

by Lawrence Schneiderman
     
 

While surveys show that most of us would prefer to die at home, 80% of us will die in a health care facility, many hooked up to machines and faced with tough decisions. When you, a family member, or a friend are in this situation, what should you do next? In Embracing Our Mortality, Dr. Lawrence J. Schneiderman, a physician who is our leading expert on medical

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Overview

While surveys show that most of us would prefer to die at home, 80% of us will die in a health care facility, many hooked up to machines and faced with tough decisions. When you, a family member, or a friend are in this situation, what should you do next? In Embracing Our Mortality, Dr. Lawrence J. Schneiderman, a physician who is our leading expert on medical ethics at the end of life, urges all of us, including health care professionals caring for people at the end of life, to face these decisions with sensitivity and realism informed by both the latest medical evidence as well as the oldest humanistic visions. Dr. Schneiderman vividly demonstrates the wisdom of this approach by interweaving true stories of his patients, current empirical research in care at the end of life, displays of the power of empathy and imagination as embodied in the work of writers like Tolstoy and Chekov, and examples of how the distortion of medical research by media, and its misunderstanding even by health care professionals, cloud the ability to think, feel, and decide clearly about mortal concerns. He ends by addressing the question implicit in all of this which is how to achieve a just and universal health care.

Dr. Schneiderman proves a refreshingly honest, astringent, and life-affirming guide to thinking about the choices that we or people we love will face when we dienot if, as the technological imperatives of modern medicine can suggestand to making decisions at the end of life that respect all that has preceded it.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195339451
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
03/03/2008
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
232
Product dimensions:
7.10(w) x 5.30(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Lawrence J. Schneiderman, M.D, is Professor Emeritus at UCSD Medical School and Visiting Scholar in the Program in Medicine and Human Values at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. He has been a visiting scholar and visiting professor at institutions in the United States and abroad and has written more than 170 medical and scientific publications, as well as a novel and award-winning plays and short stories.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Facts, Statistics, Empathy, and Imagination
1. Putting in Writing What You Want (and Don't Want)
2. What May Happen If You Don't Make it "Clear and Convincing," and Lawyers and Judges (and Politicians!) Get Involved
3. Facts and Statistics
4. Empathy and the Imagination
5. Ancient Myth and Modern Medicine: What Can We Learn From the Past?
6. Hoping for a Miracle
7. What Could Be Wrong with Hope?
8. Medical Futility
9. Beyond Futility to an Ethic of Care
10. Future Decisions We Probably Will All Have to Make
Appendix
"Unknown Girl in the Maternity Ward"—Ann Sexton
"Spring and All"—William Carlos Williams
UCSD Medical Center Policy & Procedures
Limitation of Life Sustaining Treatment

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