The art of dying

“Letting go: what should medicine do when it can’t save your life?” is the title of a New Yorker article — written by a Boston surgeon in 2010 — that I read a few days ago (thanks to a member of the myeloma support group on Facebook who posted the link).

It’s so¬†long that you might get a bit fidgety, but try to hang in there until the very last word. I’m sure you’ll find it as interesting as I did…so interesting, in fact, that I decided not to make any comments about it, which is very unusual for me. ūüėČ Seriously, though, right now¬†I’d much rather¬†read what YOU¬†think about it, so please drop me a note or, even better, please leave a comment here on the blog, if you can find the time etc…That would be great. You see, I’d like to write a post about this delicate but very important issue, but I need more time to sort through things, and your input would be invaluable. Thank you!!!

Here’s the link to the New Yorker article:¬†¬†


  1. Fantastic article. Every doctor and patient should read it. Just saw a new article by him in today’s New York Times [Sunday October 5 2014] entitled The Best Possible Day. Same theme, a little shorter. It says it is adapted from his latest book: Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. I will buy three copies tomorrow: one for me, one for my primary care doctor and one for my oncologist!

  2. Hi Margaret,

    really no time to give you my full response to this post,… yet… but this is what we have in Switzerland (I printed the 24 page document for all my relatives who were interested, not that many actually) :

    G. and I filled it up some 5 years ago ; you can think things over and change some “details” at any time.

    I’ll write (much) more later !

  3. Dear Margaret, As New Yorker articles are notoriously long and thorough, I felt that I might respond first to the young mother with lung cancer. As there are many Integrative Therapies that might have been used instead of all the immune system damaging poisons, I can only hope that true Integrative Care will one day dominate cancer therapies with diet, natural pills (see the Cancer Tutor online!). (And since oncologists make such a high percentage of profit on chemo– it seems a shame to poison then cut then burn as these old treatments that do not work require–they make billions……………75% of all bankruptcies in America are due to medical bills !) — As for end of life care when one is elderly, that approach is different. I am still reading and studying this most interesting article. It seems we humans love youth and life so dearly that we often fail to respect this end of living phase, giving it the planning it deserves –More on this when completed. Thank you for sharing this ! Wonderful article. Best, Beth

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