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With the End in Mind: Dying, Death and Wisdom in an Age of Denial

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On the other hand, if your belief system can't reconcile the fact that we show mercy and euthanize a dog as soon as we notice first signs of pointless suffering, but use are "knowledge and expertise" to prolong that suffering as long as possible in our fellow humans, after reading all these testimonials of human beings falling apart alive, you're only going to be more mad and in wonder why we philosophize about euthanasia so much. It is a real insight into what happens in end-of-life care in hospices across the world and indeed in East Kent. In her introduction, Mannix states that in the book, 'the experience of several people is woven into a single individual's narrative, to allow specific aspects of the journey to be depicted'. Even then, death is often held at bay and life prolonged at all costs: the fragile and disintegrating body is plugged into machines, pumped full of oxygen and blood and drugs, its gallant heart restarted and kept going, no matter the pain, no matter the hopelessness of the endeavour, no matter that at a certain point this isn’t living, just a slowed-down, drawn-out, painful and undignified dying.

In every story, she positions either herself or her palliative care colleagues as the all-knowing voice of reason, and after a while, this started to feel a bit sinister. Mainly though, to feel at as much ease as is possible as she comes to the end and what that end will likely look like - which I can share with her too.The book starts with Sabine's story and looks particularly at the process of dying and the need for honesty at such a time. Unfortunately in our society we seem to have become afraid of dying and being able to talk to people facing death. I found it a great comfort and now feel better equipped to talk about death, and to consider what's important in my life.

The names of her patients have been changed and there is nothing that will give away exactly who is being referred to. Nowadays that has to be broadened to include caring for people of all faiths and there are one or two examples of that in this book.I hope my close family will agree to read this book, unfortunately it is only in English which prevents some other part of my family from its benefits. Now Kathryn Mannix joins this distinguished group and her voice, though quiet and calm, is distinctive. This book may well not be for everyone however it tackles very difficult subjects with great gentleness. If you find Atul Gawande's Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End a worthy read, you should definitely look this one up.

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