Pick of the Month

WITF's Pick of the Month bring's you the very best books and more. Every month we’ll recommend a great book for you to check out--from biographies and novels to poetry, children’s books and more. We’ll promote selections monthly on WITF TV and on WITF FM 89.5. Read along with us as we discover literary finds that engage, enlighten and entertain. Bookmark this page to keep up to date with the latest info about monthly picks—including details on how you can meet the authors. Pick up a copy and start reading today!

June's pick-of-the-month "Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End"

Written by witf.org | Jun 1, 2015 10:00 AM

In Being Mortal, bestselling author and practicing surgeon Atul Gawande challenges the reader to consider how we want to die, how we want our loved ones to be treated at the end of their lives, and what role the medical community should play in providing care to the dying.

Most older adults have a good idea about how and where they prefer to die, and who they want to make decisions for them if necessary. But these preferences seldom match reality, often due to the conflicting interests of nursing homes, hospitals, and doctors.

Gwande argues that - at a time when medicine has conquered so many formerly debilitating or deadly illnesses and injuries - the goals of end-of-life care too often in opposition to the best interests of the patient. When does the need to protect a nursing home resident from potential harm override the individual's quality of life? When can hospital staff move back off from attempting every procedure to extend life, no matter how painful?

For Gawande, quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families. He offers examples of freer, more socially fulfilling models for assisting the infirm and dependent elderly, and he explores the varieties of hospice care to demonstrate that a person's last weeks or months may be rich and dignified.

Full of eye-opening research and riveting storytelling, Being Mortal asserts that medicine can comfort and enhance our experience even to the end, providing not only a good life but also a good end.

Atul Gawande is author of three other bestselling books, including Complications, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. He is also a surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, a staff writer for "The New Yorker," and a professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. He has won the Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science, a MacArthur Fellowship, and two National Magazine Awards.

- Aaron's Books

This month's pick is part of WITF's Transforming Health project. Through September the public is invited to participate in "A Summer Read," a unique program that encourages residents to visit local libraries to borrow "Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End" and hold discussions with their book clubs, friends, family and colleagues. The "Summer Read" campaign will culminate with a series of community screenings of the PBS documentary FRONTLINE: Being Mortal. Events will be held in locations throughout Central PA and will feature select clips from the documentary followed by a panel discussion and an opportunity to connect with local palliative care resources.  For more information visit TransformingHealth.org.


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