Dealing with Doctors, Denial, and Death: A Guide to Living Well with Serious Illness

Aroop Mangalik. Rowman & Littlefield, $33 (276p) ISBN 978-1-4422-7280-4
“Accepting death and making the time before death peaceful and comforting is one of the best gifts we can give to ourselves, our family, and our loved ones,” says oncologist and medical ethicist Mangalik as he takes on a big and often avoided topic in his debut book. His goal is to empower patients to avoid unnecessary medical treatments and to “prepare you and your family for you to have a comfortable, peaceful death.” He educates readers on all aspects of the end of life, including accepting the inevitability of death, understanding why doctors over-treat—one reason is their “refusal to accept failure”; another is “competitiveness and ambition”—and resisting the urge to demand unrealistic treatments. There is a great deal of helpful information in these pages, on topics such as interpreting statistics and end-of-life directives. Among many good points the author makes is that patients may “go for a treatment based on the best possible scenario” without understanding that “improvement of heart function by x percent” might not actually make the patient feel better. The book’s writing tends toward the verbose and repetitive, but its intent couldn’t be worthier. Readers will find much of value if they persevere. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/09/2017
Release date: 01/01/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 274 pages - 978-1-4422-7280-4
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