IN OUR LAST DAYS
Extreme Measures: Finding a Better Path to the End of Life, by Jessica Zitter, MD.
Whatever your take on end of life care, this book will be an eye-opener. It’s the first accurate description I’ve read of what we too often see in our hospitals: An elderly person who has reached the end of their time, tied down to an ICU bed with a breathing machine, a urinary catheter, multiple iv lines and family members standing outside saying, “Dad never wanted this to happen.”
ICU care has a rhythm of its own: it’s a big ship that’s hard to stop once it gets going. I have patients who have said “Do everything to keep me alive as long as possible.” I wonder if, having read this book, they would still think that was a great idea.
Unless you’ve somehow concluded that you’ll live forever, this book is a guide for those who want to increase the odds that they’ll experience a natural and comfortable death rather than a difficult and painful one.