"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, T he New York Times Book Review).
This groundbreaking blend of memoir and investigative reporting--hailed as "Notable Book of the Year" by The New York Times--ponders the "Good Death" and the forces that stand in its way.
Katy Butler was living thousands of miles away when her old but seemingly vigorous father suffered a crippling stroke. She flew East and in time became her parents' part-time caregiver, thoroughly re-embroiled in the childhood family dynamics she thought she'd left behind. Her father's natural suffering was bad enough. But in time she saw it prolonged by an advanced medical device -- a pacemaker -- that kept his heart going while doing nothing to prevent his slide into dementia, near-blindness, and misery. When he said, "I'm living too long," Katy and her mother faced wrenching moral questions, faced by millions of America's 28 million caregivers. Where is the line between saving a life and prolonging a dying? When do you say to a doctor, "Let my loved one go?"
After doctors refused to disable the pacemaker, Butler set out to understand how we had transformed dying from a natural process to a technological flail. Her quest had barely begun when her mother, faced with her own grave illness, rebelled against her doctors and met death 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. Its provocative thesis is that technological medicine, obsessed with maximum longevity, often creates more suffering than it prevents. It also 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 passionate conversations about lighting the path to a better way of death.
"A lyrical meditation written with extraordinary beauty and sensitivity" ( San Francisco Chronicle).
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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.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Knocking on Heaven’s Door PROLOGUE
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Descripción Scribner. 1 Paperback(s), 2013. soft. Estado de conservación: New. (Books for a Better Life Award Winner and a Finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize) In one of the most talked-about books of 2013, Katy Butler—a science writer as well as a lay-ordained Buddhist—here expands her 2010 New York Times Magazine article "What Broke My Father's Heart: How a Pacemaker Wrecked a Family's Life," which won top awards from the National Association of Science Writers and the Association of Health Care Journalists. When does death stop being a curse and become a blessing? Where is the line between saving a life and prolonging a dying? And why does modern medicine deny individuals and families the right to make those choices? Five years after retired Wesleyan University professor Jeffrey Butler suffered a debilitating stroke, Katy Butler faced the reality that the father she had so admired was living in anguish as his mind succumbed to dementia but his pacemaker kept his body living on. Meanwhile her mother—a successful portrait photographer and illustrator, and still "lucid and bright as a sword point"—was sacrificing every day of her remaining life as her father's full-time caregiver. Butler traces the tangled web of technology, medicine, and commerce that dying has become, and chronicles the rise of Slow Medicine—a movement that promotes care over cure—in the effort to reclaim the "good deaths" that our ancestors prized."[An] unflinching look at America's tendency to overtreat [that] makes a strong case for the 'slow medicine' movement, which recognizes that 'dying can be postponed, but aging cannot be cured'."—Mother Jones"This is a book so honest, so insightful and so achingly beautiful that its poetic essence transcends even the anguished story that it tells. Katy Butler's perceptive intellect has probed deeply, and seen into the many troubling aspects of our nation's inability to deal with the reality of dying in the 21st century: emotional, spiritual, medical, financial, social, historical and even political."—Sherwin B. Nuland 322. Nº de ref. de la librería 62644
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