Extreme Measures

Extreme Measures

Finding A Better Path to the End of Life

eBook - 2017
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"An ICU and Palliative Care specialist featured in the Netflix documentary Extremis offers a framework for a better way to exit life that will change our medical culture at the deepest level In medical school, no one teaches you how to let a patient die. Jessica Zitter became a doctor because she wanted to be a hero. She elected to specialize in critical care--to become an ICU physician--and imagined herself swooping in to rescue patients from the brink of death. Butthen duringher first codeshe found herself cracking the ribs of a patient so old and frail it was unimaginable he would ever come back to life. She began to question her choice. Extreme Measures charts Zitter's journey from wanting to be one kind of hero to becoming another--a doctor who prioritizes the patient's values and preferences in an environment where the default choice is the extremeuse of technology. In our current medical culture, the old and the ill are put on what she terms the End-of-Life Conveyor belt. They are intubated, catheterized, and even shelved away in care facilities to suffer their final days alone, confused, and often in pain. In her work Zitter has learned what patients fear more than death itself : the prospect of dying badly. She builds bridges between patients and caregivers, formulates plans to allay patients' pain and anxiety, and enlists the support of loved ones so that life can end well, even beautifully. Filled with rich patient stories that make a compelling medical narrative, Extreme Measures enlarges the national conversation as it thoughtfully and compassionately examines an experience that defines being human."-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Avery, 2017
ISBN: 9781101982570
Branch Call Number: eBook
Characteristics: 1 online resource
text file
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc


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Aug 04, 2017

This is simply the best book I've read concerning choices for end of life. The author writes engaging accounts of her 20 years as a physician in ICUs as well as in palliative care consulting. She presents a comprehensive range of her own experiences with dying patients. She's learned a lot and passes it on to her readers. I highly recommend this book.
That said, the elephant in the living room, a topic she doesn't mention once, is the inordinate cost of unnecessary end of life measures and the ensuing burden on our health care systems. As we as a nation grapple with how we want medicine paid for, whether entirely by private insurance or by a singer payer system, cost cannot be overlooked. At present we want to provide everything. Few people, least of all this author, want to take on how we allocate resources. She's fantastic in terms of letting us know what's involved in specific medical choices, but she neglects the matter of cost. The book will be quite helpful for patient, family, and health provider decisions, but falls short on questions of cost.


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