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Do you think that advancements in the medical field damage our ability to have a quality end of life

I am preparing to lead a Book Review and Discussion on Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End for the Pathways Institute for Lifelong Learning. It is a great book that I recommend for everyone. I haven’t decided yet on the specific discussion questions that we will address, but I am considering the ones listed below. I would like to get your thoughts on these questions in order to help me shape the discussion:

· Do you think that advancements in the medical field damage our ability to have a quality end of life?

· Do you think death is something that should be fought, even denied, to the end?

· Many people argue that we live in a ‘death denying’ society and have a collective discomfort or avoidance in talking about dying and death. Do you think that is true? Are you uncomfortable thinking and talking about death (your own or others)?

· The issue of death aside, do you think most people are in denial about their own aging? Do you find yourself drawn to books declaring “age is just a number” and “you can be young forever” mentality? Are these books helpful, or do they do more harm than good?

· Like Gawande, I am inclined to believe that for older people and the terminally ill, there are two responsibilities that they need to fulfill for their own good and the good of others:

• confronting the reality of aging and mortality

• acting on the truth we find

But that is scary. How do we strike a balance between fear and hope, while still confronting reality?

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