Death is a natural part of life. But it has become a painful, protracted, humiliating process that is often inappropriate for the healthcare patient, puts an undue financial and emotional burden on the family, and provides a model of improper care for physicians in training. And it's expensive―about 22 percent of all medical expenditures are for people in the last year of their lives. Further, while studies show that 90 percent of all people would prefer to die at home surrounded by family and friends, the reality is that more than 70 percent die in institutions. As Dr. Ken Fisher argues so passionately in this book, it's time for a change.
End-of-life care in the U.S. has evolved over the years into a nightmare for patients and family members, and it has created a near-crushing financial burden on the medical system that is not just excessive but unsustainable. It has driven the cost of healthcare out of reach for many people, and it is a large factor in preventing the creation of universal coverage. In Defiance of Death reviews the current state of end-of-life care and highlights its many problems from a variety of economic, political, and social perspectives. Fisher and Rockwell illuminate the ethical dilemmas we all face as technology allows us to prolong life―but at a huge human and financial cost. This book documents these problems and provides a historical perspective of how our medical system evolved. It argues that America's defiance of death is far too costly and recommend that all stakeholders―including the public, medical community, Congress, and business leaders―join together to create a system that improves end-of-life care for everyone involved. This book, with workable solutions to improve our medical system, helps point the way.
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Two physicians show that end-of-life healthcare in the United States is in a shambles, while offering methods to provide appropriate care and significantly reduce the staggering cost.About the Author:
Kenneth A. Fisher, M.D., is a nephrology consultant for the Borgess and Bronson Hospitals in Kalamazoo, Michigan. For over forty years, he has served in a variety of clinical, teaching, and research positions. He has written dozens of scientific and policy articles in such publications as Clinical Nephrology, American Journal of Physiology, American Journal of Medicine, and American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Lindsay E. Rockwell, D.O, is a hematologist and oncologist in private practice in Northampton, Massachusetts. She is the Director of Integrative Oncology at Cooley-Dickinson Hospital and is involved in numerous research endeavors examining the role of complementary medicine for the oncology patient. She has been published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, presents at oncology conferences, and has a special interest in palliative care as well as women's issues in the context of cancer care.
Missy Scott, a former broadcast journalist, is a freelance writer and instructional designer. She writes courseware and supporting materials for teachers in colleges, universities, and healthcare training schools.
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