Michel asked:

Is it about one's right to decide when to die?

Mrs. Danvers It's about what matters as we reach the end of life and what we as individuals, as a community, and as recipients of medical care can do to be sure that we honor what matters most to the aging and/or dying person.
Catwalker Mrs. Danvers hit the nail on the head. I read an excerpt of this on Slate yesterday, and was very impressed. At least one of the aspects of mortality that Gawande explores is how what matters to the individual at the end of life changes as circumstances and possibilities change, and that at least in some cases, really listening and being sure we (family, friends, medical practitioners) understand what the sick person wants as well as what they don't want or are afraid of.
Monica It is about the role of medicine. Is medicine meant to promote health/survival or about supporting well-being? It is about asking where the limits of medicine lie - are we to prolong life at all costs including much suffering, or to support the patient to meet his goals and navigate the trade-offs at the end of his life? It is about when to fight and when to be happy with the grounds you have gained, and when to retreat - especially when you are fighting a war with a superior enemy (death) who will always win. It is not just about one's right to decide when to die - it is also about what the society can do to better support those who have to meet the inevitability of death.
Rita Its about the right to be in control of your life during the final stages. Refusal of treatment is a factor, but it is more about understanding the true priorities of the terminally ill which go beyond safety and the extension of life. What matters to the individual at the end stage should be just that ... individually determined. Strong endorsement for hospice care which attempts to tailor the care to the needs and priorities of the dying.
Joan It's about your quality of life that matters. What are you willing to settle for? If this is your outcome with this treatment, are you okay with it. The book is about what questions you need to ask to help you determine which treatment you want to pursue or not pursue. Whether it is end of life by disease or age. Definitely a keeper.
Emily No, this book is not about the right to decide when to die. It's about the importance of balancing our human desires with our medical possibilities. It points out this necessity in regard to geriatric care, assisted living, nursing homes, palliative care, and terminal illness.
Serene It's about how we want to die. Doctors will do everything they can do prolong life, even beyond any kind of quality of life. So the patient has to be the one to say, this is all the treatment I want, I'm not willing to do anything more.
Sonia It's one's right to make the decision between quantity and quality
Carlee He mentions assisted suicide, but also notes that in the Netherlands (where it is legal), they have been slow to develop palliative care. I wouldn't say he endorses it as a flat-out cure-all.
Jen I didn't get that from the read. I think it's about making the hard choices and avoiding prolonging life when it's no longer quality. Making it worth the small daily joys one can hope for. As simple as eating chocolate ice cream. Being able to write your chapter the way you want to. He does touch on a few countries where assisted dying is acceptable but it's brief and he moves on.
Kristal Stidham He does touch on the "right to die/death with dignity" issue for a few pages, but stops short of endorsing it.
Logan I think it's more about the right to decide how to live one's last days.
Janice Kohl This book is not about dying. It is about how to live. He discusses and shows examples of what happens when dying becomes more important than the living before the dying. Interesting retelling of his father's story.
A. no, aging - not about anything morbid.
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