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The last taboo

Cover of The Good Death: An Explora
A review of The Good Death: An Exploration of Dying in America by Ann Neumann

I don’t imagine that there are many among us who have not had an experience with death: whether the screaming pain of cancer, the slow decline of a body long after the mind has left, the silent passing during sleep. But we don’t talk about it, we rarely face the fact that despite the ads and scientific research regarding longevity, it is still something we will all need to face however reluctantly. Neumann’s book is a good place to start. Beginning with her own need to face the death of a parent, she begins volunteering at hospice, and asking questions to anyone who will answer about their own experiences, about aspects of working directly with the dying, and more. She gives a good account of the current state of dying in America whether it be in hospice, hospital, prison, etc., about managed care, and advance life directives (pluses and minuses). Did you know that if you are taken to a hospital affiliated with the Church even if you have a do not resuscitate directive you will still be hooked up? I didn’t. In fact, after reading this, I found there was a lot I did not know, and a lot of it bothered me quite a bit. For instance, people in hospice in general live longer than expected. As a result, it costs more. So, the government is investigating why people are living longer (apparently a bad thing). Maybe not an easy read, but it was worth it.

Oct 16, 2019