Ira Byock

The Best Care Possible – Reviews

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In The Best Care Possible, Byock continues to challenge the way in which priorities in health care are decided…  This is a book written compassionately and wisely. It describes people’s stories with sensitivity, and it contains truths, some unpalatable, about what needs to be done. It also contains uncomfortable truths about some of the absurdities of modern health care. It is tempered with the sort of wisdom that can only come from years of experiencing the highs and the lows of this type of care.” More…

Journal of Palliative Care 28:4/2012;301 Book Review, Rod MacLeod, MD

 

“If you are mortal or know someone who is, please read this hopeful primer on death and dying, pain and suffering, helplessness and responsibility, dignity, love, and life.

Through powerful and moving stories of his patients and friends, Dr. Ira Byock demonstrates how American attitudes toward death and current medical practices combine to isolate, humiliate, and inflict unnecessary pain and suffering upon the frail and the dying. Byock starts by diagnosing what ails the medical profession: a lack of training in end-of-life care, a focus on the pathology rather than the patient, and the proliferation of medical subspecialties, which, when patients are moved from one doctor to the next, fragments care. These practices push patients who would prefer to die in comfort and dignity at home into ICUs where they suffer the pain of unwanted and expensive medical procedures and are cut off from their helpless and frightened families.” More…

BookBrowse Ezine, 04-18-12

 

“Then, through a series of exchanges with patients and their families, Dr. Byock illustrates how the medical community and society can “make the best of what is often the very worst time of life. An absorbing read.”  More…

The Wall Street Journal, Exit Strategies, 04-09-12

 

“Rather than imposing costly and futile interventions palliative care means listening to what patients and families want, managing symptoms to minimize pain and helping with emotional, social and spiritual distress. These treatments can not only improve the quality of life but can, in some cases, extend its length.” More…

The Wall Street Journal,  Review, 04-03-12

 

“Asked where they would like to spend their last days, Americans almost always say at home, surrounded by people they love. In real life, though, only one in five achieves that. More than 30% die in a nursing home, where almost no one wants to be, and over half end up in a hospital, often in an intensive-care unit, heavily sedated and attached to life-saving equipment until their doctors give up the battle. ” More…

The Economist, Go gentle into that night , 07-15-12

 

“Ira Byock has been writing books about the way Americans die since 1998, when he published “Dying Well.” For most of that time, he has been appalled. He still is. Dr. Byock, director of palliative medicine at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH, pulls no punches in his new book.” More…

New York Times, The Caregivers’s Bookshelf: Dying by Degrees, 03-20-12

 

“The high percentage of spending devoted to health care does not necessarily reflect quality, however, according to data analyzed by doctors at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, which found that patients in high spending areas do not exhibit longer life spans or better health. Dying in America too often involves suffering for both patients and families with little individualized care, a problem he describes as “a national disgrace” in his book.” More…

The Tailored Scholar

 

“The American way of dying, he points out, involves too much suffering for both patients and families, and routinized medical response with not enough individualized care. It means not enough listening, not enough support for families, way too much expense. “A national disgrace,” the author calls it in his introduction. — What makes Dr. Byock’s book particularly valuable is the chance to eavesdrop on the doctors we’re often quick to blame. He tells what it’s like on the other end of the stethoscope.” More…

Legacy Matters, 03-24-12

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