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Sunday, January 31, 2016

#4 - In the Midst of Life - Jennifer Worth

Title:  In the Midst of Life
Author:  Jennifer Worth
Genre:  Non-Fiction - Memoir
Rating:  B
Published:  2010
Dates Read:  12/22/15 - 1/23/16
Pages:  420

Jennifer Worth's real life stories about midwifery and nursing in England inspired the Public Television series, Call the Mid-Wife.   In her latest book, about end-of-life illnesses and decisions regarding dying, Worth gives us a first hand account of nursing people with cancer, dementia, and other terminal diseases.  With grace and straight-forwardness she relates the hardships patients and their families endure when faced with decisions regarding how to deal with these hard issues.  While doctors deal with diagnoses and prescribing medicines, it falls upon the nurse to counsel the dying patient and their family.  Sometimes palliative (ease without curing) care is an option that keeps the patient comfortable and gives the family a sense of peace.  Other times, as Worth describes, people will go to countries where they can end their own lives.

Worth recalls people like her grandfather who died before modern medicine and how families drew around and allowed dying to happen naturally without heroic measures to save their lives.  Modern medicine has progressed to where things like CPR have successfully brought people back to life in cases of near drownings, electrocution and the like.  For this we are thankful.

This comprehensive book is a must for the nursing student or lay person who want to understand options about end-of-life decisions.

Footnote:  While Worth's information about end-of-life directives and resource material is geared for the United Kingdom, similar information may also be available in the United States.

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