In the Midst of Life: What Makes a Good Death? by Jennifer Worth

Reviewed by Jayne S (Library Staff)

Jennifer Worth’s memoir, Call the Midwife, was about her early experiences assisting births in post-war London. This book chronicles her later nursing career, caring for the elderly as they near death.

She shares her personal experiences how medical advances may keep a person alive, but also can prolong suffering at the end. Nurses and care workers work bedside and may know the patient’s wishes, while the paramedics and emergency room staff act on instinct – their only goal is to save the life. Advanced directives and Do not resuscitate paperwork help convey the patient’s wishes, but it is not a guarantee that the preferences will be honored.

This is not a morbid book, but rather gives insight for what will come for all of us. She refers to her country’s laws, but it is very similar to what is here. I am happy I read it.

I will finish this with a quote from the book:
The author wrote that “Life is sweet – and death always fearful” but her terminally ill friend disagreed. The friend wrote back to her that “on my opinion life in age becomes more and more fearful and painful, and death is – at least for me –a hopeful aspect.

Something for us to think about.

Available through the Bridges Library System

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