Jim Good's Reviews > How We Die: Reflections of Life's Final Chapter

How We Die by Sherwin B. Nuland
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's review
Dec 17, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: science, sociology, non-fiction

The book covers the ways in which different terminal events cause the body to shut down. Nuland uses technical language to discribe the events occurring but has an underlying theme about the ways in which people die and how the medical practice of solving the “Riddle” at the heart of the terminal event may lesson the patients likelyhood of dying naturally. He goes through many cases and found the myth of “death with dignity” missing. Most deaths occur after long periods of pain and continued loss of functionaliy. He sees a worrying trend towards trying to prolong life without measuring the quality of it. Interesting reflection on hope and the definition of hope. One can see it as hope for a cure that allieviates the cause of death, but that’s not always practical. “I will seek hope…in the way I try to live my life, so that those who value what I am will have profited by my time on earth and be left with comforting recollections of what we have meant to one another”. “The greatest dignity to be found in death is the dignity of the life that preceeded it.”

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