You Must Read This: ‘A Life Worth Ending’ and ‘Letting Go’

America’s health care system is broken, and one of the most heartbreaking areas where this plays out is when it comes to dying. These days, we don’t like to let people die, and we increase the suffering with this mindset that we should always use life saving measures regardless of the situation.

But these two pieces say it far better than I ever could. One perspective from a son, one from a doctor. Both fascinating and important works of journalism.

This piece that ran several weeks ago in New York Magazine summed up such an important issue: that living longer doesn’t necessarily mean living better, that using “life saving” measures on dying (and typically elderly) people can lead to misery for everyone involved. America must really wise up to this, and let people die respectful, compassionate deaths.

A Life Worth Ending
The era of medical miracles has created a new phase of aging, as far from living as it is from dying. A son’s plea to let his mother go.

And for a highly talented and well-respected surgeon’s perspective, from my favorite doctor-author, Dr. Atul Gawande:

Letting Go

What should medicine do when it can’t save your life?

One thought on “You Must Read This: ‘A Life Worth Ending’ and ‘Letting Go’

  1. Luddy's Lens says:

    Thank you so much for posting these links. Eleven years ago, when my mother’s cancer returned for the third — and this time inoperable — time, she decided she was ready to go, despite her doctors urging ever more aggressive chemo to “extend her life.” This difficult decision made her final 8 months with cancer easier and more peaceful than all five previous cancer years put together, and she finally died at home, in her bed, with all of us there, instead of at some harshly lit hospital with strangers milling around. We heard her final breath instead of some machine going beeeeeeeep…

    It really is up to us to make our wishes known. My mother fought for as long as she could (as we all would, I think), but she realized the end was inevitable and did not want to witness her own deterioration. It’s awful to think about your spouse or partner or child or parent dying, but you gotta do it. It makes death a part of life again.

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