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Book Review: Being Mortal

Updated: Oct 6, 2022

In Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, author Atul Gawande looks at the problems of the aging population and inevitability of death. He points out that many physicians are so hell-bent on preserving life that they cause horrible and unnecessary suffering.

Gawande goes on to say that sometimes in striving to give a patient health and survival, their well-being is neglected. He looks at the “Dying Role” as the end approaches describing it as the patient’s ability to “share memories, pass on wisdom and keepsakes, settle relationships, establish legacies and make peace with their God. They want to end their stories on their own terms.” He feels that if people are denied their role, out of obtuseness and neglect, it is cause for everlasting shame.

Gawande provides the reader with an understanding that though end of life care is inevitable, there are ways to humanize the process. The patients, their families and medical professionals are coming to terms with how to better face the decision making processes that will be, in many cases, the last decision. The subject matter is complex and sensitive but the moral of the book is that “The End Matters.”~

Excerpted from a book review by Barbara Geach posted on, September 26, 2014. Reprinted by permission.


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