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Review-In the Midst of Life--excellent. by Mike Barnes
on 30 January 2011
This courageous book should be read widely, especially by the medical profession and those who are elderly or have elderly relatives. Jennifer Worth takes the subject of dying, and examines it with examples from her own acquaintance and in all its manifestations--bad deaths, good deaths, and resucitation. Dying is something we all have to go through, but in the UK it is a subject that is rarely discussed. The 'normal' English death and funeral are tightlipped and sober. Elsewhere. for example, Ireland and the Carribean, the wake and funeral are a real celebration of a life, with friends and relations, old and young, attending. Adults and children thereby understand that the dead person whom they loved was somebody of significance whose life should be cherished. The second topic Mrs Worth examines is the resucitation of people who have had strokes, accidents or are simply dying of old age, again a question that has not been debated adequately in the UK. Whoever you are, and however old or ill or severely incapacitated you are, a medical team if it is called, will attempt to resucitate you. If it can't, this is seen as a failure. This often results in people continuing to live in a very poor state, and Mrs Worth questions whether such interventions are justified in all cases and clearly answers 'no'. Mrs Worth has done us all a service by raising and examining these issues. The book is not difficult or macabre but, on the contrary inspiring, and the personal examples interesting. As usual, her style is personal and direct, and it is very easy to empathise with those whose cases are being described. A 5* recommendation.