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The Lost Art of Dying: Reviving Forgotten Wisdom Hardcover – Illustrated, July 7, 2020
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“In this profound and compassionate book about death and its nearness, Dugdale demystifies one of the essential mysteries of our time.” (Siddhartha Mukherjee, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies and The Gene)
“Like Atul Gawande and Paul Kalanithi, Dugdale writes fluently about dying from clinical experience. What sets her book apart is that she writes wise words everyone needs to hear as they live. When I lay dying, I hope I will have a doctor like Dr. Dugdale at the bedside.” (Abraham Nussbaum, MD, author of The Finest Traditions of My Calling)
“I’m adding this book about dying to my collection of treasured guides to living well. Filling me with illuminating, compelling, and consoling hope, this book, more than any other I have read, reveals how to rediscover the lost art of dying. Read it. Then read it again and again.” (Raymond Barfield, MD, PhD, professor of pediatrics and Christian philosophy, Duke University)
"One of the most avoided questions in life is also one of the most important: what is it like to die? It's a question we will all encounter, no matter what our beliefs about the afterlife. And you will find no more compassionate and knowledgeable guide than Dr. Dugdale, who has accompanied many people on this journey. Her new book is a great gift to all of us who will die or face death, which is to say, all of us." (James Martin, SJ, author of The Jesuit Guide and Jesus: A Pilgrimage)
"This illuminating and thought-provoking book will convince many readers to reexamine their assumptions about death and dying." (Publisher's Weekly (starred review))
“Want a better life? Then think about your death, starting with Lydia Dugdale’s The Lost Art of Dying. Dugdale shows that death should be courageously confronted. In so doing, we not only conquer our fear, but also understand the reason for our lives.” (Arthur C. Brooks, author of Love Your Enemies and professor at the Harvard Kennedy School)
“Dugdale examines how we have surrendered to the medical machine while surfacing ways we can regain control of key decisions over our quality of life and death. Everyone must read this book, whether you are a health-care professional, a public-policy official, or just hoping to reach an advanced age.” (Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Senior Associate Dean, Yale School of Management)
“In this important new book, Dugdale asks why it is so difficult for patients and families to accept terminal diagnoses and for all of us to recognize our finitude. The solution, Dugdale proposes, is for us to learn about dying now, as part of our living. And she is right.” (Victoria Sweet, MD, PhD, author of God's Hotel and Slow Medicine)
“Who would have thought that a book on dying could be so enlivening? But that is precisely Dugdale’s point: if we do not face our deaths, they destroy us before they have happened. A lucid, learned, humane, and utterly necessary book.” (Christian Wiman, author of My Bright Abyss)
About the Author
Lydia Dugdale MD, MAR, is associate professor of medicine and director of the Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at Columbia University. Prior to her 2019 move to Columbia, she was Associate Director of the Program for Biomedical Ethics and founding Co-Director of the Program for Medicine, Spirituality, and Religion at Yale School of Medicine. She is an internal medicine primary care doctor and medical ethicist. Her first book, Dying in the Twenty-First Century (MIT Press, 2015), provides the theoretical grounding for this current book. She lives with her husband and daughters in New York City.
- Item Weight : 12.8 ounces
- Hardcover : 272 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0062932632
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062932631
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.93 x 8.25 inches
- Publisher : HarperOne; Illustrated edition (July 7, 2020)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #228,232 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Dr. Dugdale advocates that whenever possible, those facing death (everyone) develop a plan for their final hours, such as where they want to die (she suggests most prefer home if given the choice) and who they want present as death draws near, and communicate their plan to those who will speak for them in their final hours. There is a fascinating digression about the evolution of hospitals from their origin, of providing basic care for the indigent, to their modern role as the locus of modern, conveyer-belt medical technology for those who can afford it.
The final chapter points out that the ultimate key to dying well is to live well and have no regrets. While citing the example of Jacob’s last words, she does not speak to the other side of death’s door. (This was not her purpose.) Matthew 25:21 & 23 give us the ultimate life goal - to be told by The Lord “Well done, good and faithful servant; enter into the joy of your master.” If one fears the final judgment and is not at peace with God, fear of death is rational. The aphorism, “there are no atheists in foxholes” dating to at least World War II, speaks to the deepest human response to imminent death. How can we be confident in what lies beyond death’s door? Creeds, sacraments, and works as public testimonies of faith all are scriptural. But true confidence comes from a relationship with Jesus that is built on these foundations. Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.” (John 10:27-28) The art of dying well must be based on this, or else it is a superficial facade. How much better the joy of going home to a loving Father!
Also, passages like the following show the author's craft with words, which makes the book a pleasure to read:
"She suffered a massive heart attack and underwent open-heart surgery in our hospital. I met her the day I resuscitated her. When I went back to check on her the next day, she told me she wished we had let her die. I felt defensive.
"'But you told us you wanted us to do everything we could to keep you alive,' I protested.
"'Yes,' she replied. 'But I changed my mind after going through it.' She died again a few weeks later."