Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “And a Time to Die: How American Hospitals Shape the End of Life” as Want to Read:
And a Time to Die: How American Hospitals Shape the End of Life
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

And a Time to Die: How American Hospitals Shape the End of Life

3.73  ·  Rating Details  ·  64 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
Over the past thirty years, the way Americans experience death has been dramatically altered. The advent of medical technology capable of sustaining life without restoring health has changed where, when, and how we die. In this revelatory study, medical anthropologist Sharon R. Kaufman examines the powerful center of those changes: the hospital, where most Americans die to ...more
Paperback, 412 pages
Published September 15th 2006 by University Of Chicago Press (first published 2005)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about And a Time to Die, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about And a Time to Die

In The Neighborhood by Peter LovenheimA Walk in the Woods by Bill BrysonThe Worst Hard Time by Timothy EganLies My Teacher Told Me by James W. LoewenGrowing Up Native American by Patricia Riley
44th out of 111 books — 6 voters
Howards End by E.M. ForsterWhere the Sidewalk Ends by Shel SilversteinHowards End is on the Landing by Susan HillThe Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil GaimanThe Middle of Everywhere by Mary Pipher
Beginning, Middle, and End - Titles
56th out of 60 books — 8 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 178)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
This was a good, if dense, read that opened my eyes to end of life issues, specifically how death and dying occurs in hospitals. We've all heard about "life support" and "DNR (do not resucitate) orders", quality of life issues, suffering, and the like.

Like most people, before reading this book I had no idea that "life support" or "heroic measures" aren't one specific thing. They are more concepts, and as such, are open to interpretation. Kaufman is an anthropologist, so her approach is a little
I appreciated how much time the author spent researching for this book, including spending time in multiple hospitals to talk with patients, their families, and basically everyone that was part of the medical staff (although mostly nurses and doctors). It's a fairly easy read and hard to put down.

I didn't agree with all of her conclusions. She seems to be saying that there are big-picture driving forces (powered by Medicare reimbursement rules) that drive when patients get admitted and when pat
Sep 28, 2012 Erin rated it it was amazing
This was an assigned reading for my college medical anthropology class but I was glad I had to read it. Kaufman filled this book with real life situations she encountered during her research. You'll read about men and women (not always elderly) who are dying of one thing or another and see how the patients themselves, their families, and the medical staff deal with (or don't deal with) their situations.

Kaufman uses these true stories to show how patients need to make their wishes clear but how t
Jul 20, 2009 Leslie rated it really liked it
This is a thoughtful ethnographic study of the dying process of the hospital, more specifically of critical illness (both acute and chronic). Although as a medical provider I chaffed at some of the interpretations, I did not wholly disagree with any of them. She formulates modern death in terms of technological cultural imperatives as well as bureaucratic time pressures. She postulates that Nature has lost its grounding function in shaping our sense of the morality of dying because technology ha ...more
Oct 14, 2013 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a must read. It's an eye opener to the challenges we face at the end of life and provides a look at the politics of living and dying in American hospitals. The discourse is different for everyone, but if we are more aware we may be better prepared to shape the end of life to meet our personal aspirations for a decent death.
Yifei Men
Jan 17, 2013 Yifei Men rated it liked it
An interesting read on a heavy topic. Wonderful introduction to the healthcare system in relation to end-of-life care. A tad long though, and the later anecdotes don't seem to contribute much to the overall argument.
Mar 15, 2010 Kathy added it
This book validates my reaction to the experience I've been having over the past two weeks while my husband's father was in the hospital. A good study, well written. And a very odd mostly American phenomenon.
Sep 29, 2008 K rated it liked it
Shelves: sociology
Reading this definitely changed my opinions about what I would like happen if I were to need life-preserving technology - but in many places, the book is redundant.
Aug 11, 2007 Margaret rated it did not like it
There were parts that were interesting but it was very dry. I did not finish it.
Sep 03, 2007 Kipahni rated it really liked it
this book helped me with my research.
Mary Mchugh
Mary Mchugh marked it as to-read
Feb 05, 2016
Jennifer Arellano
Jennifer Arellano is currently reading it
Jan 31, 2016
Dawn Scholl
Dawn Scholl marked it as to-read
Jan 29, 2016
Alisha Chand
Alisha Chand marked it as to-read
Jan 24, 2016
Sarah rated it it was amazing
Jan 10, 2016
Holli Gomes
Holli Gomes marked it as to-read
Jan 02, 2016
Jessica marked it as to-read
Dec 30, 2015
Teresa Buhagiar
Teresa Buhagiar marked it as to-read
Dec 28, 2015
Desiree Vollans
Desiree Vollans rated it it was ok
Dec 27, 2015
BMR, MSW, LSW marked it as to-read
Dec 12, 2015
Annie Johnson
Annie Johnson marked it as to-read
Dec 10, 2015
Stephen marked it as to-read
Dec 10, 2015
Nicole marked it as to-read
Nov 24, 2015
Laura marked it as to-read
Nov 10, 2015
Michelle Cox
Michelle Cox marked it as to-read
Nov 01, 2015
Hialy rated it really liked it
Sep 22, 2015
Darleen is currently reading it
Jul 03, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Sharon R. Kaufman is Chair of the Department of Anthropology, History and Social Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. She is the author of …And a Time to Die: How American Hospitals Shape the End of Life.
More about Sharon R. Kaufman...

Share This Book