There is an unspoken dark side of American medicine--keeping patients alive at any price. Two thirds of Americans die in healthcare institutions, tethered to machines and tubes at bankrupting costs, even though research shows that most prefer to die at home in comfort, surrounded by loved ones. Dr. Angelo E. Volandes believes that a life well lived deserves a good ending. Through the stories of seven patients and seven very different end-of-life experiences, he demonstrates that what people with a serious illness, who are approaching the end of their lives, need most is t new techlogies but one simple thing: The Conversation. He argues for a radical re-envisioning of the patient-doctor relationship and offers ways for patients and their families to talk about this difficult issue to ensure that patients will be at the center and in charge of their medical care. It might be the most important conversation you ever have.
Angelo E. Volandes is a physician and researcher at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. He is also the co-founder of Advance Care Planning Decisions, a nonprofit organization devoted to encouraging The Conversation through the use of videos. He lives outside Boston, Massachusetts.