Should We Hope to Die at Seventy-five?

A Good Ending

We’ve been reading a lot about the need for end-of-life conversations with our loved ones and our doctors lately, often in the context of the high cost of healthcare for the dying.  It’s a good idea.

So it was a delight to read Atul Gwande’s uplifting end-of-life opinion piece on this subject in The New York Times  .  Dr. Gwande, a regular contributor to The New Yorker magazine and, even more important, my own surgeon, writes about his daughter’s piano teacher, Peg Batchedler, who died about two years ago. 

Terminally ill, and with no further treatment options, she decided to go home with hospice care rather than remain in the hospital waiting to die.  Hospice tries to give people the best possible day they can have under their circumstances, explains Gwande.

He relates what happened on Peg Batchelder’s “best possible day” before she died at home. I was moved when I read the article at breakfast on Sunday and I passed it on to Peter as the tears ran down my face.  



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