Is it possible to have a good death, free from unnecessary pain and trauma? What if our final days were designed to bring about reconciliation and release? In this wise and large-hearted book, Dr. Jim deMaine offers advice pointing the way toward a grace-filled transition out of life.
Facing Death is both a memoir-in-vignettes and a handbook full of practical advice from Dr. deMaine’s forty years in busy hospitals and ICUs. Using stories from his own life and practice, the veteran physician walks readers through ethical questions around “heroic” interventions: Do we fully understand what we’re asking when we tell doctors to “do everything” to prolong life, even in cases when a patient has no chance of regaining consciousness? If we write advance directives outlining the kinds of care we would, or would not want, how can we ensure that they will be followed?
As a pulmonary and critical care specialist, Dr. deMaine developed deep experience navigating such quandaries with patients and their families. In Facing Death he also treads into territory many physicians avoid, such as the role of spirituality; conflicts between doctors and families; cultural traditions that can aid or impede the goal of a peaceful transition, and ways to leave a moral legacy for our descendants.