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Being Mortal review – a surgeon’s view of how we should end our days

Doctor and New Yorker writer Atul Gawande argues that we should focus less on prolonging life and more on making it meaningful

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"Being Mortal is not a plea for assisted death, although Gawande is not against the idea of making drugs available to terminally ill people who are suffering. He is mainly concerned that reliance on assisted death is yet another distraction from what makes the end of life meaningful, not only for the dying, but also for those around them.

Our failure to give any value to the last phase of life, our insistence on health and safety above all, has led to a dependence on care homes that are little more than parking places; Gawande is rightly scathing about a system that exists largely as a form of containment, where the temptation is to deal with people as if they are inconvenient".

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What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

Have you or a loved one had an experience with care homes? What is it that we can do (or do differently) to allow us to lead more meaningful and vital lives? How might we re-imagine the end-of-life experience for ourselves and our loves ones?


Atul Gawande


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Thank you for sharing Dr. Gawande's book. When first reading the mission of this Challenge, I also immediately thought of this book. It's an important (and I'd even argue vital) read for those struggling with end of life family decisions in the United States. This is a great place to start when brainstorming ways to combine cultural approaches to end of life. 

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