In Death Interrupted, ICU doctor Blair Bigham shares his first-hand experiences of how medicine has complicated the way we die and offers a road map for dying in the modern era.
Doctors today can call on previously unimaginable technologies to help keep our bodies alive. In this new era, most organs can be kept from dying almost indefinitely by machines. But this unprecedented shift in end-of-life care has created a major crisis. In the widening grey zone between life and death, doctors fight with doctors, families feel pressured to make tough decisions about their loved ones, and lawyers are left to argue life-and-death cases in the courts. Meanwhile, intensive care patients are caught in purgatory, attached to machines and unable to speak for themselves.
In Death Interrupted, Dr. Blair Bigham seeks to help readers understand the options facing them at the end of their lives. Through conversations with end-of-life professionals — including ethicists, social workers, and nurses and doctors who practise palliative care — and observations from his own time working in ambulances, emergency rooms, and the ICU, Bigham exposes the tensions inherent in this new era of dying and answers the tough questions facing us all. Because now, for the first time in human history, we may be able to choose how our own story ends.
About the author
DR. BLAIR BIGHAM is a journalist, scientist, and attending emergency and ICU physician who trained at McMaster and Stanford Universities. He was a Global Journalism Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy and an associate scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital. His work has appeared in the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, the New England Journal of Medicine, and the Canadian Medical Association Journal, among others.