How We Die: Reflections of Life's Final Chapter, New Edition Paperback – Jan 15 1995
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From Publishers Weekly
The 1994 NBA nonfiction winner, Yale physician Nuland's study of the clinical, biological and emotional details of dying was a 14-week PW bestseller.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Drawing upon his own broad experience and the characteristics of the six most common death-causing diseases, Nuland examines what death means to the doctor, patient, nurse, administrator, and family. Thought provoking and humane, his is not the usual syrup-and-generality approach to this well-worn topic. Fundamental to it are Nuland's experiences with the deaths of his aunt, his older brother, and a longtime patient. With each of these deaths, he made what he now sees as mistakes of denial, false hope, and refusal to abide by a patient's wishes. Disease, not death, is the real enemy, he reminds us, despite the facts that most deaths are unpleasant, painful, or agonized, and to argue otherwise is to plaster over the truth. The doctor, Nuland stresses, should instill in dying patients the hope not for a miraculous cure but for the dignity and high quality of the remainder of their lives as well as of what they have meant--and will continue to mean--to family, friends, and colleagues. Nuland also has strong feelings about suicide and "assisted death": the doctor should be prepared psychologically and practically to help the longtime patient slip off the scene in relative comfort. William Beatty --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Why read such a book? Taking away the fear of the unknown can bring courage and peace in the face of a difficult time. This book presents unpleasant facts in simple language that anyone can understand.
Chapters cover different types of death, making clear the physiological changes and medical choices that go along with each one. It addresses both medical and emotional realities of common conditions such as cancer, heart disease, AIDS, Alzheimer's, severe trauma, and just plain wearing out. (Be prepared to cry, since reading this book may make you experience feelings associated with people you love.)
What makes this book such compelling reading is that Nuland brings to this subject all of the depth and breadth of his background AND his deep concern for the human condition. His long career at a high-powered academic medical center (Yale), his knowledge of the history of medicine, of literature and philosophy, and his own personal losses are all woven into his thesis.Read more ›
There are several themes that permeate Nuland's books. One theme is that death, like birth, is a messy process. Though we may wish for the noble death, more likely we will die slowly from a lack of oxygen in the brain. This, in turn, will result from a failing heart, lungs, or blood vessels. Death does not come easy, and although the final moment is sometime serene and tranquil, months or weeks of painful physical degeneration often precedes it.
The second theme in Nuland's book is that death is not only inevitable, it is necessary. While life should be fought for as long as possible, we should all realize that ultimately the battle will be lost. We will die. Nuland takes a dim view of heroic attempts to extend life beyond the point where the body has simply failed and death becomes not only inevitable, but also the proper way for nature to renew herself. Nature uses death to clear the way for new generations, and just as we cannot experience the green buds of spring unless the leaves from last season fall to the ground, the very nature of life demands that when death becomes inevitable we exit the stage for the next generation.
Nuland's third point is that the measure of a life is not found so much in how we die, but in how we live and how we are remembered.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Enjoyed reading a doctor's perspective. Life and death are two sides of same coin.Published 5 months ago by Vijay
This is a very well written and frank discussion about death. You come away a little shaken about what you've earned but he doesn't sugar coat the bitter pill. Read morePublished on May 3 2014 by Owen John Horn
This delightful man is so very interesting in how he compiles words thoughts ideas brilliance intelligence together. Read morePublished on April 10 2014 by judith Johnson
This book should come with a warning label: "NOT TO BE READ BY THOSE RECENTLY BEREAVED." It is a very macabre book and will only worsen the grief.Published on June 27 2004
A moving and detailed compendium of major causes of death, their physical causes and manifestations, and the effects on a victim's life and family. Read morePublished on April 10 2004 by J. Jacobs
This is a very well written and informative book that is especially relevant clinicians and aspiring health professionals. Highly recommended.Published on Jan. 9 2004 by J. Fridley
The author tries to explain experiences related to death both from medical and phylosophical perspective. Read morePublished on Dec 21 2003 by Vahania63
This is a very good book, however, the atmosphere of
helplessness that it creates in the wake of the impending
agony of death makes me feel part of that agony even... Read more
Well in all truth , this is the first book ive ever read that has more then 100 pages.. And it was able to keep my attention rather well. Read morePublished on Oct. 9 2002
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