Death with Dignity Will Become Top-Priority For Baby Boomers As They Enter End-of-Life Queue

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Robert Orfali, author of the new Kirkus-starred book Death with Dignity, says, “The end-of-life system is broken. There is just too much pain and suffering at the end. People need to understand what they’re up against. It’s an issue that affects us all.”

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A lucid, powerful argument for letting dying patients go gentle into that good night.
— Kirkus Star Review

Modern medicine allows people to live longer, but the price they pay is prolonged dying often with suffering akin to “torture.” The sad truth is that 80% of Americans will not leave life the way they would have liked to: “at home and without needless suffering.” By closing their eyes and letting the system follow its course, over half a million people may end up intubated in an ICU at the end of their lives. Hospice provides a gentler death but it has its own problems. For most, hospice comes too late. The median length of stay in hospice is, sadly, eighteen days, with 33% enrolled for just eight days or less. In addition, the practice of palliative sedation—the only way to alleviate terminal pain for many—varies dramatically among hospices: the variances are between 1% and 52%. According to author Robert Orfali, “The practice is very capricious. To protect ourselves and our loved ones, we need to understand our end-of-life choices. And, we need to think about them while we still can. It could make the difference between having a relatively good death and a very bad death.” Orfali argues that physician-assisted dying must be added to the hospice repertoire of palliative choices. According to Orfali, “For many it can be a form of insurance in case all else fails.”    

In his recent book Death with Dignity: The Case for Legalizing Physician-Assisted Dying and Euthanasia, Orfali provides an in-depth exploration of the shortcomings of our end-of-life system. The reader will learn about terminal torture in hospital ICUs and about the alternatives: hospice and palliative care. With laser-sharp focus, Orfali scrutinizes the good, the bad, and the ugly. He provides an insightful critique of the practice of palliative sedation. The book makes a strong case that assisted dying complements hospice. Oregon, by providing both, now has the best palliative-care system in America. This book can serve as a gentle and informed guide to “a good death” in the age of hospice and high-tech medical intervention.

Orfali makes a compelling case for legalized physician-assisted dying. Using the latest data from Oregon and the Netherlands, he puts a fresh new slant on perennial debate topics such as “slippery slopes,” “the integrity of medicine,” and “sanctity of life.” His engaging writing style brings clarity to these issues. The content is thought-provoking; the arguments are well-researched, air-tight, and original. 

“Orfali approaches this agonizing subject with common sense informed by extensive research and an acute sensitivity to the dilemmas faced by dying patients and their families and doctors. The result is a thought-provoking contribution to the debate over this explosive issue. A lucid, powerful argument for letting dying patients go gentle into that good night.”
— Kirkus Star Review (April 15, 2011)

Robert Orfali, the guru of client/server systems in the early days of Silicon Valley, co-authored three best-selling books that demystified the complexity of these mission-critical systems and made them understandable to a whole new generation of programmers. The books sold over a million copies. In this book, Robert uses his analytical skills to deconstruct the most complex system he has yet encountered: our modern end-of-life system. He wrote this book after helping his soulmate and coauthor, Jeri, navigate her death from ovarian cancer in 2009. The deep emotions Robert felt allowed him to look at how we die from a different perspective, another angle. Robert also wrote Grieving a Soulmate

Paperback: 254 pages
Publisher: Mill City Press, Inc. 
Publication date: April 15, 2011
ISBN-10: 1936780186
ISBN-13: 978-1936780181

Paperback list price: $14.95
E-book list price: only $ 0.99 “almost free.”

Book and e-book available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple Store, and others.
E-book formats include Kindle, iPad, iPhone, Nook, Android, and others.
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