Our ageing population is a modern success story, and success brings problems. The new demographic is for people to die in old age, or extreme old age, but with multiple illnesses and diagnoses, and on a cocktail of medication. But where is the balance of medicine between curing and caring? Are we neglecting the wellbeing of the dying person in our desire to fight death at all costs?
Margaret McCartney, author of The Patient Paradox, examines the way we care for people at the end of life. She finds that medicine can harm as well as help, that loneliness and social isolation are endemic, and a lack of hands-on, human care means that people are not able to die where they would choose. She argues for a more compassionate and humane approach to the care of the dying which puts the needs of the individual first.
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A riveting and thought provoking read that confirms and adds to my disquiet at the direction that modern medicine is taking. I rate this book alongside Ben Goldacre's, and will be buying extra copies to give away.
Living with Dying
Margaret McCartney is a sensitive and caring GP who brings experience and extensive research to this readable book. It is downgraded by me because of her dismissal of acupuncture, which in its authentic Chinese form has been effective for thousands of years and enables me to stay healthy aged 82 WITHOUT using Western medicine. She also dismisses the Gerson therapy. Some people prefer the very hard work involved rather than use standard medical treatment, and it should be their choice. People I know personally have lived and thrived after using it, one of them for 35 years following a diagnosis of metastasised melanoma. She is now aged 90 and still travelling to promote understanding of this therapy for those who want it. Dr McCartney encourages informed choice in dying, so I am surprised she does not do so for cancer treatment.
Living with dying
This is a timely review of the medical and nursing politics of dying, the fear of litigation, and the mismatch of expectation and reality represented by the lay press.
Wise and kind
This is an extremely sensible book, reflecting on the balance between what can and what should be done at the end of life. The political decision to fund heroic treatments while unglamorous hands-on nursing and social care are starved of funding is held up to scrutiny.<br />I would recommend it highly for anyone involved in caring for the dying and anyone who thinks that they may themselves die at some point.