It’s dizzying to think about how much our attitudes on death have changed over the last century. While the moral, social, and metaphysical implications of and questions about death have remained largely unchanged throughout all of human history, it is only recently that it stopped being this always-stalking, fast-approaching, carnivorous force. That’s due to modern medicine.
Vast and remarkable improvements in science and medicine have prolonged lifespans and made invariably fatal diseases and ailments mere inconveniences. That has changed the way we feel about dying. Life can be prolonged, even for those with chronic illnesses. And while many times that can be a blessing, we haven’t quite reconciled our ability to save a life with the morality of doing so in every situation. Can, after all, doesn’t always mean should.
That’s where Dr. Jessica Zitter comes in. With 20 years experience as a critical and palliative care specialist, Dr. Zitter is uniquely positioned to observe the world’s (especially the Western world’s) new ideas about dying and to question whether they are right. She was featured in a documentary on the subject, Extremis, which was nominated for an Academy Award. It raised issues that few want to touch. (…) Read Full Article Here