In his new book ‘Being Mortal: illness, medicine and what matters in the end’, Dr Atul Gawande “explores how we best manage the last phase of our lives in an age when medicine can keep us alive well beyond the point where we would naturally expire,” and reflects on his own very personal experiences of death.
After reading the book, UK Headteacher John Tomsett writes in his blog: “My dad was a modern stoic. We were obedient passives, in awe of medical opinion. When I asked mother why dad went into hospital she said, ‘Your father was very poorly. It was taken out of our hands. The doctor made the decision.’ She wasn’t angry about it; it seems there was no choice. We accepted the professionals’ decisions without challenge.
“If someone had discussed my dad’s final phase of life with him – like Gawande did with his father – he may have spent his last weeks at home surrounded by his family.
“I know life is too short for regrets, but, after reading Being Mortal, I find myself wondering whether, if we had just talked things through together with a little more wisdom, I might have remained at home and shared dad’s final days.
“My dad’s death, and my life, could have been slightly different.”