Embracing Our Mortality: Medical Choices In An Age Of Miracles by Lawrence Schneiderman

Embracing Our Mortality: Medical Choices In An Age Of Miracles

byLawrence Schneiderman

Hardcover | March 15, 2008

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While we would all prefer to die at home, quietly and peacefully, in fact most of us will die in a health care facility, many of us hooked up to machines and faced with tough alternatives. In Embracing Our Mortality, Dr. Lawrence J. Schneiderman captures medical decision-making in action atthe end of life, a time when the physician's and patient's choices are the most difficult--and the most heart--wrenching-to make. Here readers will find vivid case studies drawn from Dr. Schneiderman's fifty-year career that illuminate the challenging medical decisions many of us have to make when we are seriously--and possibly even terminally--ill. The cases deal with patients ranging from newborns to the elderly. Wediscover how the wrong decision can actually increase our pain and suffering, while adding little time--and virtually no quality--to the end of our lives. Schneiderman discusses the latest empirical research, showing the reader how to evaluate statistical claims and assess the probability that aparticular course of treatment will significantly improve our medical condition. Moreover, he draws on authors such as Tolstoy and Chekov to emphasize the importance of empathy and imagination in making these crucial decisions. Instead of promoting the false promises of "miracles," he urgespatients, family members, and physicians to approach these difficult decisions with sensitive yet realistic outlooks, combining the latest medical technology and oldest humanistic visions. Perhaps most important, he underscores the life-enhancing value of honestly facing--and embracing--ourmortality. Written by an eminent physician and ethicist recognized for his groundbreaking work on end-of-life medical issues, Embracing Our Mortality is an essential volume for everyone who wants the best possible care at the end of their life.

About The Author

Lawrence J. Schneiderman, M.D, is Professor Emeritus at UCSD Medical School and Visiting Scholar in the Program in Medicine and Human Values at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. He has been a visiting scholar and visiting professor at institutions in the United States and abroad and has written more than 170 medic...

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Title:Embracing Our Mortality: Medical Choices In An Age Of MiraclesFormat:HardcoverDimensions:208 pages, 5.31 × 7.09 × 0.98 inPublished:March 15, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195339452

ISBN - 13:9780195339451

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Facts, Statistics, Empathy, and Imagination1. Putting in Writing What You Want (and Don't Want)2. What May Happen If You Don't Make it "Clear and Convincing," and Lawyers and Judges (and Politicians!) Get Involved3. Facts and Statistics4. Empathy and the Imagination5. Ancient Myth and Modern Medicine: What Can We Learn From the Past?6. Hoping for a Miracle7. What Could Be Wrong with Hope?8. Medical Futility9. Beyond Futility to an Ethic of Care10. Future Decisions We Probably Will All Have to MakeAppendix "Unknown Girl in the Maternity Ward"--Ann Sexton "Spring and All"--William Carlos Williams UCSD Medical Center Policy and Procedures Limitation of Life Sustaining Treatment

Editorial Reviews

"Deciding how we ought to die is a subject that frightens most of us and leaves not a few unable to even enter into a discussion about it much less plan for our own mortality. If you fit this description, then you need to keep a copy of Embracing Our Mortality close at hand. Lawrence Schneiderman has the experience and the wisdom tomake you think and, more importantly, make you act."--Arthur Caplan, PhD, Emanual & Robert Hart Professor of Bioethics Chair, Department of Medical Ethics, and Director, Center for Bioethics, University of Pennsylvania "Medicine has never had greater powers to cure disease, yet the same treatments that promote life in one case only prolong dying in another. This conundrum leads Dr. Lawrence Schneiderman to pose one of the essential ethical questions of contemporary medicine, What should we do now? Using case studies from his practice and cases of public notoriety (such as the Schiavo case), he provides the reader not only a wealth of facts, but also social, psychological, and spiritual insight into how some run from while others embrace mortality."--Robert L. Fine, MD, Director of Clinical Ethics, Baylor Health Care System, Houston "A physician who is a playwright envisions his patients in the nuanced script of their lives. Dr. Schneiderman, who is indeed both, places the medical facts of drugs, operations, and statistics into human dramas of hope, anger, despair, and empathy pervading every encounter with a patient who is a person."--Albert R. Jonsen, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Ethics in Medicine, University of Washington; Senior Ethics Scholar, California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco "A passionate, story-rich reaffirmation that thepractice of medicine is about caring for human persons whose natural history includes getting sick, getting well, flourishing, failing, and ultimately dying."--Lance K. Stell, PhD, FACFE, Charles A. Dana Professor of Philosophy, and Director, Medical Humanities Program, Davidson College; Vice-Chair, Ethics Committee and Director, Ethics Consult Service, Carolinas Medical Center "This book is engaging...The honest and realistic information is a welcome alternative to the inaccurate depictions of the end of life provided by the media."--Doody's, a 5 star review