The end of life is unpredictable. Difficult choices are inevitable.
This book offers a path and a story that guides the reader through this maze of problems.
In At Peace, the author weaves together the chronology of his parents’ declines and deaths with anecdotes and examples from more than 30 years of medical practice to illustrate several principles behind choosing a better death at an advanced age. These include creating a vision of where and how death would be most tolerable; understanding one’s disease trajectory and prognosis; communicating with family and friends; and, accepting the inevitable in order to avoid painful yet futile treatments and (if not desirable) prolonged debility.
As the American health care system evolved around him, becoming increasingly complex and increasingly commercialized, Sam became interested in end-of-life issues. Acting as a consultant on many patients in emergency rooms and intensive care units, he saw too many elderly patients receiving complicated medical care that all too frequently proved futile. As a result, he developed a passion for protecting elderly patients from ineffective, excessive, and inappropriate care.
The aging of his parents, and their eventual decline, further inspired his end-of-life interests, and he worked with his family to help his parents realize their personal vision of dying peacefully at home.
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