Saving Life ... or prolonging death
How are we to die? We try not to think of it, we try to postpone it,
but in the end everyone dies.
The last few decades have seen progress in technologies that have changed medical care to a level almost beyond imagination.
Techniques have been refined to such an extent that treatments previously thought to be too risky to contemplate have now become standard, offering many patients extra years to spend with their loved ones.
This is, of course, excellent news.
However everything comes at a price.
The price for innovative technology combined with brilliant research and outstanding health care is, quite often, the inability for us to die a timely and dignified death without intrusive technology, or to recognise when it is time to allow the death of our much loved relatives.
The increasing sophistication of machinery that can keep people alive means that death, once the welcome friend of the incurably sick and the very old, can now be thwarted, delayed and prolonged.
These days, many deaths are preceded by mounting medical intervention and often only occur after a decision is made to wind back the medical technology. This is of course a difficult discussion, but it is one that many of us have faced or will face in the future. And it is hard to prepare for this responsibility.
This insightful, detailed and compelling book explains what drives medical decision making at the end of life and encourages readers to consider whether they would like to fight the natural process of dying “… with every piece of equipment and technology available” or choose to die peacefully, in the close company of loved ones.
We choose how we live – this book will help us choose how we would prefer to die,
... and to ensure that our wishes are respected.
Author Dr Charlie Corke, MB BS, BSc, MRCP (UK), FCICM is a highly qualified and experienced Senior Specialist in Intensive Care who has seen huge progress in medical technologies that have changed medical care to a level almost beyond imagination.
“As a practicing intensive care specialist with more than twenty years experience in the ICU, I am proud to be a part of a profession that strives to save and to cure, to treat and to return to health. We frequently see miraculous recovery from life-threatening conditions. But we also see frustration, confusion and distress as relatives watch their dearly loved family member undergoing prolonged uncomfortable and undignified treatment until they die…
… I hope that, by sharing stories and insights from my medical experience, readers will gain a better understanding of what drives medical decision making at the end of life. I believe that people should be encouraged to discuss with their families what sort of approach they would like when they come to the end of their lives and begin their next, as JM Barrie described it, ‘… awfully big adventure’. ”
Discounted internet price A$20. (RRP A$22.50) ISBN 9780955908668
"I’ve just finished reading 'Saving Life ...' and wanted to give you feedback on how brilliant it is! I’ve been telling lots of different groups/people about it. It’s very easy to read and clearly outlines the issues surrounding EOL, explains the current system of medical decision making for the layperson and gives fantastic examples to aid practical understanding. It clearly shows why Advance Care Planning is so important."
"'Saving Life ...' is very, very informative, and the case studies are great. I will be recommending, teaching from, and quoting from this book at every available opportunity."
Associate Professor Rosalie Hudson,
Honorary Senior Fellow, School of Nursing and Social Work
The University of Melbourne.