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Last Rights: Rescuing the End of Life from the Medical System
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Last Rights: Rescuing the End of Life from the Medical System

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  87 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
"This country is fairly crowded with doctors, families, and patients--all possessed of good intentions--failing to achieve the simple goal of allowing people to die with dignity and grace."
In the 1970s, most Americans died swiftly and brutally: of heart attacks, strokes, cancer, or in accidents. But in the past three decades, medical advances have extended our lives and
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published November 14th 2006 by St. Martin's Press
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Sep 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
"Last Rights" is an alarming report on how our current health system fails those who are dying. Most Americans want meaningful closure...dying at home, free of pain,among friends and family, with their affairs in order.But many are instead dying among strangers after enduring avoidable pain and suffering pointless indignities.

In past years death came suddenly in the form of heart attacks, strokes, and accidents. But now lives end slowly with congestive heart failure, lung disease, diabetes, Alzh
Mar 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anybody who wants a snapshot of death with chronic disease in the U.S. today
Recommended to Leslie by: Laura Yudusky
This book is a fair assessment of many of the problems with dying in the U.S. right now. Although I hope that some of it is out-of-date (ignoring advanced directives is unconscionable), it addresses many of the inadequacies of physician education, public awareness, and physician-patient communication that make end-of-life care so often an alienating, painful experience. When we as medical practitioners can overcome our fears of patients' reactions, of our own feelings, and of professional censur ...more
Jan 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
I read this for my Death and Dying class a couple of semesters ago and feel obligated to get the word out. With this book the author exposes devastating flaws in the way our medical system approaches and handles death and dying patients. He argues for a more holistic approach, embracing hospice the like. As a social work student and a member of a generation whom will be dealing with a dramatic increase of aged persons, I find this book really highlights some invaluable issues.
This book is very easy to read, yet sometimes disturbing to read at the same time. I kept thinking back to my own father's death and how relatively easily my family decided what to do and the medical professionals who let us process, advised us, and aided our ultimate decision.
After the death of my aunt this past summer (she decided to forego any further dialysis treatments), I have a clearer picture of what may lie ahead with my mother, who didn't completely understand her sister's decision. I
Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good starting point for conversations for those dealing with elderly or terminal family members and their medical team. Some material is outdated, but for the most part these are things that need to be considered. More focus is on the terminally ill; it would be nice to find something that helps with those who need care for other problems brought on by the aging process that are not illness-related.
Feb 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If you have ever witnessed a loved one as they go through their last days or know others who have, or if you have heard about assisted suicide - this book is for you. If you're a parent and are thinking about how to prepare yourself and your family for your last days and dying with dignity and surrounded by love and light and music - this is the book for you! What a remarkably well written book about a very powerful and emotional and political issue. Between the moving stories of those who went ...more
Nov 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
If we could give half stars, I'd give this book 3.5 stars. But, since we can't do that, I think this is closer to really good versus good. Unlike many other non-fiction books, this one is written by a journalist. So, instead of an expert on a topic trying to write a book, this book is written by a writer who is passionate about the topic. The book starts out strong. Full disclosure--I never would have read this book on my own, but it's next month's book in one of my book clubs, so I tackled it. ...more
Feb 05, 2013 rated it liked it
So-so. I get that this was a really smart guy that almost didn't make it. He was in a coma, and his brain shouldn't have been working. So he attributes what happened to him as a heaven. But it is so unlike any other account of near-death experiences that I wonder about it. The heaven he experiences has a beautiful woman, but where are all the other people? He talks about a higher form of consciousness "there," and is clearly ecstatic about it, but if that's all heaven is, it sounds like it would ...more
Melissa Ball
Feb 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: medicine
My father had a serious health scare. I was told once to be prepared for him to die. I spent several months in hospitals and waiting rooms and became far mmore familiar than I wanted with things like pain control, DNRs, power of attorney, and to what extent he wanted to be subjected to life saving measures.

This was a very intense read. It's hard to believe that, for all of the training doctors go through, so little focus is on dying, patient choices, and pallative care.

It will make you seriously
Sharon G
Apr 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In a time of gradual death experiences rather than sudden death experiences, this book is a fascinating preparation for end of life issues that all of us will face with our loved ones and ourselves. I have met the author, and he inscribed my book, "Peace and blessings to the last second". That is definitely the objective of this book.
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