A call for humanity.
I'm reading this on the recommendation of a 23-year-old friend of mine. I've not yet finished it. I hadn't ever considered that Doctors are trained to help people to get better (even though it doesn't always work) and that they are not trained to help people when they are NOT going to get better. As a hospital chaplaincy volunteer myself, it convinces me even more that 'mere' medical care in the NHS is not meeting the real needs - we are more than just a body and having people who care about the 'real' person inside is invaluable. Families, friends and community can be positively changed themselves while being involved in the bodily demise of those they love. I hope that as others read it there will be a recognition of the need to have more people skilled at caring for those who are maybe NOT going to get better - not just to help the individual who is dying, but those who love them. that way we can all be better prepared for the inevitable. There is a character in Tolstoy's novel 'Anna Kareninna' who was said to be just the person to be called in to care for a dying person - which she quietly, humanely and efficiently did. It always made me wonder if there were such gifted indivicuals in our culture..... Well done, Dr Gawande for putting the questions out there.