Palliative care practitioner BJ Miller on redesigning our relationship with death. BJ Miller and the Zen Hospice Project previously.
Over these last two years, I've come to suspect that my cat has gotten better, more comprehensive planning around her eventual death than most people do.
The Economist's Quality of Death Index for 2015 was published last week. It attempts to measure the quality of palliative care in 80 countries. The top three countries (in order) are Britain, Australia, and New Zealand. And the bottom three countries? Philippines, Bangladesh, and Iraq. Here is The Economist's summary and here is the full report.
What should medicine do when it can't save your life? Atul Gawande looks at the system of final-stage treatment for terminal patients, which, despite more than 40 years of a hospice movement for better end of life care, often ensures that patients die exactly how they least want to: in a hospital, hooked up to machines. Gawande tries to envision how, "when the chemotherapy stops working, when we start needing oxygen at home, when we face high-risk surgery, when the liver failure keeps progressing, when we become unable to dress ourselves" medical care can focus on quality of life, rather than prolonging it. [more inside]
Dutch Legalize Euthanasia "The Netherlands has become the first country in the world to legalise mercy killing after a controversial law on euthanasia came into force on Monday." While tolerated for nearly two decades, opponents are comparing the practice to Nazi Geramny. Is this a step forward for those living with severe pain and no hope in sight?