Modern Death: How Medicine Changed the End of Life

St. Martin's. Feb. 2017. 336p. notes. index. ISBN 9781250104588. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250104595. MED
Warraich (cardiology, Duke Univ.) provides an engaging look at the ways modern medical technologies shape the end of life, with perspectives and illustrations drawn from his ongoing work as a clinician. He begins where few books on this topic do, with an explanation of cellular death and its role in the death of a human being. Then he talks about "do not resuscitate" orders and explores the role of "advanced directives" and the ways in which they create clearer options for families, as well as the difficulties faced when decisions are delegated to others through power of attorney orders or "substitutionary decision making." The author also discusses controversial issues around assisted suicide from a physician's point of view. He further notes how the Internet and other social media technologies have influenced how we grieve.
VERDICT While other texts have covered issues of medicine and the end of life, Warraich's goes beyond when discussing the role the digital sphere plays in grief and memorialization. Readers of Sharon R. Kaufman's And a Time To Die and Sherwin B. Nuland's How We Die will find an engaging and updated outlook in this work.
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