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Knocking on Heaven's Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death

by

Knocking on Heaven's Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

“A thoroughly researched and compelling mix of personal narrative and hard-nosed reporting that captures just how flawed care at the end of life has become” (Abraham Verghese, The New York Times Book Review).

This bestselling memoir—hailed a “triumph” by The New York Times—ponders the “Good Death” and the forces within medicine that stand in its way.

Award-winning journalist Katy Butler was living thousands of miles from her aging parents when the call came: her beloved seventy-nine-year-old father had suffered a crippling stroke. Katy and her mother joined the more than 28 million Americans who are shepherding loved ones through their final declines.

Doctors outfitted her father with a pacemaker, which kept his heart going while doing nothing to prevent a slide into dementia, near-blindness, and misery. When he said, “I’m living too long,” mother and daughter faced wrenching moral questions. Where is the line between saving a life and prolonging a dying? When do you say to a doctor, “Let my loved one go?”

When doctors refused to disable the pacemaker, condemning her father to a lingering death, Butler set out to understand why. Her quest had barely begun when her mother, faced with her own grave illness, rebelled against her doctors, refused open-heart surgery, and met death the old-fashioned way: head-on.

Part memoir, part medical history, and part spiritual guide, Knocking on Heaven’s Door is a map through the labyrinth of a broken medical system. Technological medicine, obsessed with maximum longevity, is creating more suffering than it prevents. Butler chronicles the rise of Slow Medicine, a movement bent on reclaiming the “Good Deaths” our ancestors prized. In families, hospitals, and the public sphere, this visionary memoir is inspiring the difficult conversations we must have to light the path to a better way of death.

A lyrical meditation written with extraordinary beauty and sensitivity” (San Francisco Chronicle).

About the Author

Katy Butler’s articles have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Best American Science Writing, and The Best American Essays. A finalist for a National Magazine Award, she lives in Northern California.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781451641981
Author:
Butler, Katy
Publisher:
Scribner Book Company
Subject:
Katy Butler; how to die; good death; palliative care; hospice; end-of-life care; slow medicine; dying parent; pacemaker; Buddhism; dying at home; death memoir; writing about death; dying with dignity; end of life decisions
Subject:
Biography - General
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Publication Date:
20140631
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
212.725 x 139.7 mm

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Featured Titles » New Arrivals » Nonfiction
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » History of Medicine
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Medical Biographies
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Medical Specialties
Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » Grief
Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » Memoirs

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