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That Good Night: Life and Medicine in the Eleventh Hour

4.49  ·  Rating details ·  416 ratings  ·  94 reviews
“A profound exploration of what it means for all of us to live—and to die—with dignity and purpose.” —People Magazine

“Visceral and lyrical.” —The Atlantic

As the American born daughter of immigrants, Dr. Sunita Puri knew from a young age that the gulf between her parents' experiences and her own was impossible to bridge, save for two elements: medicine and spirituality. Bet
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published March 5th 2019 by Viking
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4.49  · 
Rating details
 ·  416 ratings  ·  94 reviews

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This is an informative but overly long book on palliative care. The author perhaps attempts to do a few too many things: She describes her training in internal medicine, then as a palliative care fellow and physician; provides stories of many of the dying and terminally ill patients she has worked with; considers the role that religion/faith/spiritual practice often play in the lives of the dying and their caregivers; and, finally, she details the profound influence her spiritual, socially commi ...more
Nick Rolston
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book is emotional, describing a number of terminally ill patients from all walks of life. The author, however, makes the book so much more about life than about death in describing her viewpoints as a palliative care physician. The stories are deeply personal based on the connections she makes with her patients by visiting them in their homes under hospice care and brings out a truly relatable side of human nature. I read this book from cover to cover in one sitting because it was so moving ...more
Genia Jones
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read an advanced copy of this book and everybody must read this book! It is gorgeously written and on such important subject matter - how we live and die, and how medicine can help us far more than it does. Though Puri is a doctor, really at heart she is an exceptional writer, and she takes us into a very hidden world of what it means to care for people who are really sick and dying. Her humanity and compassion shine through, and her portraits of her parents and their spiritual beliefs is real ...more
Tracy Finegan
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was simply beautiful and I cried many times while reading it. It’s so thought provoking and unfortunately brought up what my sister and I had to face when losing my Mom. I have so much clarity after reading this book from the time I made it to my Moms bedside to her passing. It pains me to think what the Dr’s did to her to keep her alive for an extra 3 hours but I do have further understanding what they felt was their job and duty to us. This is not a book for everyone and many would s ...more
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful and important book! Having been my daughter's primary caregiver throughout her treatment for cancer, I know the frustration of communicating with doctors who cannot, or will not, be completely honest about the expected outcome. It would have been incredibly helpful to have had conversations with a doctor like Sunita Puri to help us navigate those years of physical and mental anguish.

It was, in fact, two physicians of Indian heritage who spoke with us most compassionately near th
The title of this book is taken from Dylan Thomas' poem, "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" in which the poet begs his father not to give in to death, to fight it for his son's sake. Part of the beauty of this poem is how we can connect and identify so easily with the poet. We can all appreciate how difficult it is to let a loved one go.

Everything about medical training and practice focuses on making the patient better. Doctors are trained to find the source of the medical problem and cure
Jul 20, 2019 added it
Shelves: 2019
Important stuff to think about & prepare....a gift to give to my family.
p. 250
“Death didn’t have the power to undo a life and it’s legacy. But perhaps the fact of death amplified life’s significance.”
Kate Hughes
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Reading this book felt like taking in big, important breaths. Dr. Puri writes so beautifully and tenderly
about her experiences with her patients, remembering such ordinary and thoughtful things about them and what mattered most to them in their last days. I was so moved by how she described the process of dying and how we as doctors can help guide those most difficult conversations with families, helping to keep in mind what is most important to those we are so privileged to treat. There are pa
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a profoundly important read for anyone who questions the medical interventions at the end of life. It had a huge impact on my thought process regarding intervention and palliative care. It was well written and such an interesting read! I highly recommend it.
Kathy K Lashomb
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Phenomenal Book

This book has changed the way I practice as a hospice nurse. It is thoughtful, well-written and touched my heart in a way no other book regarding end-of-life care has. Thank you Dr. Puri!
May 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read this book as a sort of therapy for me to help with the grieving process after losing my mother to pancreatic cancer on Oct 7, 2018. Some parts were so difficult to read that I had to put it down for a bit and then come back to it. But after reading this I realized that I have felt so much unnecessary guilt about her death that this book really helped me to see that I wasn’t starving my mom when I couldn’t make her eat in the last few weeks and that keeping her in the palliative care unit ...more
Jun 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is part memoir, part reflection on the meaning of death as the final step in the continuum of life, and part teaching on palliative and hospice care. In all, it is well done. (If you enjoy learning of a career you will likely never experience, it's great for that, too!)

Puri is an MD, like her mother the anesthesiologist, though a physician who took a different path. For reasons she explains, she is drawn to palliative care, a specialty focused on patients' quality of life. She brings u
Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)
Thank you to NetGalley, Viking and Sunita Puri for an ebook copy to review. As always an honest review from me.

Full disclosure: I ended up DNFing this book about 1/3 of the way through. It wasn’t quite what I expected. Usually I would still read it because I really enjoy health, wellness, and books centered around the medical field. But I currently have a sick and potentially dying pet at home, so it’s too upsetting to read this particular book right now.

- The author does what she feels is
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a truly brilliant book by a very talented writer who is also a doctor. Dr. Puri tells the difficult and beautiful stories of her patients who are facing serious illnesses and, sometimes, the end of their lives. She brings them to life on the page, and I felt as though I truly cared about and knew these people as I read about them. But this isn't your typical doctor book. Unlike so many other doctor books where every chapter is about a different patient, she also makes this a very person ...more
Joann Amidon
The topic of this book, end of life wishes, prompted me to look forward to reading it. Honestly? I did not like the book at all. There were just too many cases sited and I did not care for the style of writing.
Jen Juenke
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Get yourself a box of Kleenex ready. I cried, wept, anguish enveloped me as I read this book. Yet the author gave me hope. The author did a WONDERFUL job alternating between patients, her own life, and a medical perspective.
I want everyone to read this book. I could relate to so many of the patients and their stories. Death is not to be feared, death is a part of life.
The author writes so beautifully and so heartfelt that it was hard not to like her. I fell in love with the patients and the str
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Jacqueline Em
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
It’s never too early to let your family know your code status.
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another book that makes me think about my goals of care and what would be most important to me towards the end of my life. This book will appeal to all - not just the clinicians.
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
as Puri quotes from the Bhagavad Gita "..because death stirs people to seek answers to important spiritual questions it becomes the greatest servant of humanity, rather than its most feared enemy"
Apr 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, 2019
This was a slow read at a busy time, but it contains much to ponder. Slow might be the way to go. Puri uses personal examples from her patients and her own family told with great clarity and empathy. I gained insight into my experience of my parents' deaths and my relations with doctors. Now I look ahead to discussions with my own adult children about my goals of care when the time comes. Excellent book. I highly recommend.
Esta Doutrich
Jun 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
A great companion read to Being Mortal and another important voice in changing how we view palliative care in western medicine.
May 05, 2019 rated it liked it
I did think it was a little long and quite repetitive-but it asks the questions that we need to address —first, who will speak for us when we can no longer speak for ourselves? Second-what specifically does death with dignity look like for you? I’ve definitely got some new things to consider.
Ashmi Ullal
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sunita Puri's book is a beautifully written memoir with an insightful message and touching story. It is a must read, especially as we all come to understand and accept our own mortality. As a family physician, it has resonated with my experience with patients in a meaningful way.
Karen & Gerard
WOW! This book is very good! I hated to see it end! I got lost in this book many times. The stories she tells of her patients are really good! These touched my heart. The part that deals with her parents was good too! This is my book of the month so far--a must read! (Gerard's review)
May 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Dr. Sunita Puri recounts her experiences that led her to enter the field of palliative care and elaborates on what this branch of medicine has to offer the seriously and terminally ill.

"For we will each age and die ... We will lose the people we love. No matter our ethnicity, place of residence, income, religion, or skin color, our human lives are united by brevity and finitude and the certainty of loss. Just as we strive for dignity and purpose throughout our lives, well before the light fades,
John Everard Griffith
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was a surprise synchronicity as my wife and I have just struggled with our wills, personal directives and power of attorney documents. Being 75 the issues raised in this book were very pertinent to what I have been thinking about, my mortality and the value of life. Through the life story of Sunita Puri we see the influence of science and religion as they challenge each other in the field of medicine. Coming from a Hindu faith tradition and her father a scientist she struggles as to ho ...more
Shalini Raakendra
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very touching book of the “tension between medicine’s impulse to preserve life at all costs and a spiritual embrace of life temporality. Her parents were immigrants and her mom whom she wanted to emulate was an anesthesiologist.

I liked the way Puri wove in her own personal background (especially her grandmother with whom she lived when she was 6-12 months old in India (and her uncle who “took mild offense at the suggestion that a nurse or caregiver should help take care of my grandmother; takin
Yolanda Wallington
Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read this book about palliative care from the perspective of my former role as an RN and also the primary caregiver of a 90+ year old. I think that this is an insightful resource for everyone. We will likely all have to have a discussion with a doctor regarding next steps. The author, a palliative care physician, speaks of her childhood that is rooted deeply in faith and her beliefs and challenges as a healer and advocate of quality, meaningful healthcare. Her stories of former patients are po ...more
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“What if I regarded my own death with reverence instead of fear? I wondered. Or, even more radically, what if I had some sort of gratitude for the transience of my life? Would it change what I worried and cared about? Wasn’t it necessary to think about this when I was in the midst of building a life? Or rather, living my life? And the more I thought about mortality and what it had come to mean to others and what I thought it meant to me, I realized that life was simultaneously so vast and so small.” 3 likes
“For we will each age and die, as my father told me years ago. We will lose the people we love. No matter our ethnicity, place of residence, income, religion, or skin color, our human lives are united by brevity and finitude, and the certainty of loss. Just as we strive for dignity and purpose throughout our lives, well before the light fades, we can bring this same dignity and purpose to our deaths, as we each journey into our own good night.” 3 likes
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