Most persons, especially as they are aging, wonder, “How will I die? Will I have a good death? Will I suffer? How will my family respond? How can we manage the dying process better?”
Author Dr. Glen Miller, a retired physician, had his own wake-up call when he suffered a heart attack and determined to help himself and his patients go “gently into that good night.” Dr. Miller emphasizes that good preparation for the inevitable—by individuals and their families—will ease this transitional time of high stress and high emotion.
The book brings a unique perspective related to the author’s professional career and personal medical history—doctor of internal medicine who cared for dying patients, healthcare administrator who understands how the healthcare system works, and Christian who thinks that dying can be a natural part of life. All of this is in the context of the author’s own healthcare narrative and his personal search for a good death. With compassion honed by serving overseas among poor and despairing people and the practical ideas gleaned from his medical practice, Dr. Miller provides rich guidance to aging persons to live more fully and to proactively plan for a good death.
Born on a farm in northwest Ohio, Glen Miller’s vocation and motivations took him to more than 44 countries. Over 25 years, he played a key role in elevating the local hospital in Bellefontaine, Ohio, to the top rung of small hospitals in the state. Dr. Miller is retired and lives in Goshen, Indiana, with his wife Marilyn.
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About the Author
Glen Miller’s work includes years as a doctor of internal medicine who cared for dying patients, as a hospital administrator who understands the healthcare system, as a patient himself who had heart attacks and two cardiac arrests and as an overseas development worker for more than ten years. Miller holds a Masters in Theology and is currently retired and living in Goshen Indiana.
Table of Contents
Preface and Acknowledgments 13
1 The Wake-Up Call 21
2 Good Deaths and Bad Deaths 31
3 The Way We Die Has Changed 49
4 Dying Regrets or Loving Memories? 67
5 Practical Ways to Prepare for a Good Death 79
6 Leaning Forward as Death Approaches 97
7 Defining Beliefs and Their Application to End-of-Life Decisions 111
8 Comfort at the Time of Dying through Religious Practices 123
9 A Good Death 135
Role-Play: Real-Life Medical Dilemmas 153
1 Abbreviations and Definitions 157
2 Comparison of U.S. and Canadian Systems of Healthcare 160
3 Resources 162
Topical Index 165
The Author 169
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Living Thoughtfully Dying Well A Doctor Explains How to Make Death a Natural Part of Life Glen E. Miller, MD Herald Press ©2014 ISBN 978-0-8361-9889-8 (ppbk) 156 pp. plus appendices and index The answer to fears about Obamacare death panels. Dr. Miller challenges us to prefer death with dignity and respect, not hooked to expensive machines that supposedly keep us alive when it’s really our time to die. He supports having people die in the privacy of home, surrounded by family and friends instead of an ICU unit where visits to the patient are limited and the person is probably tied down to prevent pulling out tubes and machines. To die in dignity, a family must know clearly in advance what a patient desires and insist on that when hope of recovery is gone, no matter what doctors might recommend. Dr. Miller realizes that sometimes doctors try heroic measures for their benefit, not the patient’s or the families. As older people we need to study, discuss and decide what we truly want at the time of our death. As an RN, I remember once when a patient was kept alive in our ICU for six weeks by a breathing machine and blood pressure medications. We nurses knew the woman could not recover and after a while we all dreaded coming to work to ‘care’ for her. No one had the legal right to stop medical treatments. We and our families need to know when recovery is impossible so we can make correct decisions. That probably is the most difficult part of deciding about medical treatments. Often home care and hospice are the best medicine. Dr. Miller lists conditions where recovery for older patients is unlikely. I disagree with him on one point. He says that irreversible memory problems is one condition for which heroic measures to sustain life should not be taken. I have an elderly friend who doesn’t even remember her own son. She’s at peace, fun to converse with, and a joy to be around. If she needed extensive medical care, her mental condition should NOT be a deciding factor. If Dr. Miller’s book were read by every person alive today (and their families.), we could decide for ourselves instead of being forced by some government panel’s choices about end of life procedures.