2005 non-fiction book by Sharon R. Kaufman< read all 1 reviews
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Most Americans, when pressed, have a vague sense of how they would like to die. They may imagine a quick and painless end or a gentle passing away during sleep. Some may wish for time to prepare and make peace with themselves, their friends, and their families. Others would prefer not to know what's coming, a swift, clean break. Yet all fear that the reality will be painful and prolonged; all fear the loss of control that could accompany dying.
That fear is justified. It is also historically unprecedented. In the past thirty years, the advent of medical technology capable of sustaining life without restoring health, the expectation that a critically ill person need not die, and the conviction that medicine should routinely thwart death have significantly changed where, when, and how Americans die and put us all in the position of doing something about death.
In a penetrating and revelatory study, medical anthropologist Sharon R. Kaufman examines the powerful center of those changes -- the hospital, where most Americans die today. In the hospital world, the deep, irresolvable tension between the urge to extend life at all costs and the desire to allow "letting go" is rarely acknowledged, yet it underlies everything that happens there among patients, families, and health professionals. Over the course of two years, Kaufman observed and interviewed critically ill patients, their families, doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff at three community hospitals. In...And a Time...