Do we need a new understanding of death? Or an old one?

By The Big Story

In today’s Big Story podcast, when someone we love ends up in the ICU, our instinct is to ask doctors to ‘do everything they can’ to save them. Our guest today argues that most people aren’t fully aware of what ‘everything’ entails, and how that request can sometimes lead to needlessly prolonged suffering.

Dr. Blair Bigham is an ER physician and the author of Death Interrupted. He joins us to discuss the tough decisions that patients, family members, and doctors are often forced to make surrounding end of life care, and how we as a society need to change the way we think about death.

“At some point, putting someone on dialysis, or putting someone on a breathing machine, can actually be harmful, it’s only prolonging their misery,” he said.

How has our relationship with death changed over the years? Are we costing both our loved ones and the medical system unnecessary pain by not just letting them go? And how do we balance that with the desperate need to keep them with us?

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