Knocking on Heaven’s Door: The Path to A Better Way of Death, Katy Butler

“Like millions of Americans caring for aging parents, Katy Butler assumed that her beloved mother and father would meet death on their own terms, free from medical overdoing. She was wrong. After doctors refused to disable the pacemaker that helped her 84-year-old father’s heart to outlive his brain [and probably should not have been inserted in the first place, following a stroke] she set out to understand why medicine, which saved his life as a young man, did little at the end but prolong his worst years. Her quest had barely begun when her mother rebelled against her doctors, refused open-heart surgery, and insisted on meeting death the old fashioned way: head-on.”

This book is a big eye-opener about how Medicare, the pharmaceutical industry, doctors and hospitals work when it comes to caring for the elderly. It is a story about how the medical profession refuses to consider the toll on the family or their wishes. It is a tale about the critical importance of how we as a nation fail our elderly and must work our way back to the sacred way of death that our ancestors knew before we got so smart. It is a book that should be read by everyone who has or will have an elderly partner or parent.

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