When Medicine Is Futile

MY father would have been thrilled to read “Dying in America,” a new report by the Institute of Medicine that argues that we subject dying patients to too many treatments, denying them a peaceful death. But he would have asked what took us so long. A physician from the late 1950s to the late 1990s, my dad grew increasingly angry at how patients died in this country, too often in hospitals and connected to machines and tubes he knew would not help them.

Letting Go

Sara Thomas Monopoli was pregnant with her first child when her doctors learned that she was going to die. It started with a cough and a pain in her back. Then a chest X-ray showed that her left lung had collapsed, and her chest was filled with fluid.

Dignified Debate

Last month, a spellbinding 10-hour debate to legalize physician-assisted dying took place in Britain’s House of Lords. Since Americans are unfamiliar with this legislative body, it bears mention that most peers in the upper house of Parliament have been appointed for life for their experience in public service or for…