Earlier this year St. Martin's Press published Dr. Haider Warraich's Modern Death, How Medicine Changed the End of Life. As the dust jacket notes, "the mechanics and understanding" of dying, "the whys, wheres, whens and hows are almost nothing like what they were mere decades ago." Today, eight in ten Americans die at an advanced age, or under Medicare, die in a medical setting after suffering for some while from a chronic, eventually fatal disease or diseases. If lucky, how Americans die will have been determined, or at least informed, by an advanced directive or like document.
During this 27 minute conversation Dr. Warraich discusses what characterizes "modern death," how the 1970s Karen Ann Quinlan case redefined death or dying, the role family caregivers play and the unintended consequences for them in providing a family member care, the limitations of advanced directives and living wills, euthanasia, physician assisted suicide and terminal or palliative sedation and whether "how medicine changed the end of life" has made "modern death" comparatively better.
Dr. Haider Javed Warraich is currently fellow in cardiology at Duke University Medical Center. He was graduate from medical school in Pakistan in 2009 and did his residency in internal medicine at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School He is a regular opinion page contributor to The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, the LA Times and has contributed to several academic publications such as The New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, Lancet and Circulation.
During the interview mention is made of a November 28, 2016 Fresh Air (NPR) interview titled, "The Debate Across the Nation Over Death With Dignity Laws," that featured Dr. Warraich along with Dr. Ira Byock. The interview is at: https://dianerehm.org/shows/2016-11-28/aid-in-dying.