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In the Midst of Life Paperback – 1 Mar 2012
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Worth is a vivid writer with a talent for the sting in the tail ... a highly readable book (EVENING STANDARD)
Life-enhancing (Matthew Parris, THE TIMES)
Worth is indeed a natural storyteller... gripping, moving and convincing from beginning to end... a powerful evocation of a long-gone world (LITERARY REVIEW)
Worth's compassion and a burning mission remind us that end-of-life care doesn't have to be complex (THE LADY)
The last collection of true-life nursing stories from the No.1 bestselling author of the CALL THE MIDWIFE series, soon to be a major BBC TV series.See all Product description
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Nowadays, these people will be treated with antibiotics, have their swallow assessed & be put on a soft or pureed diet. I have seen a poor guy who was a quite physically robust 70 year old but had advanced Alzheimers & seemed to be in a perpetual state of anxiety who was being fed by a PEG/gastric feeding tube. My God I thought. How will this man die? Nowadays, people have to deteriorate further before they are allowed to die.
Better known for 'Call the Midwife', Worth examines aspects of modern day dying from various angles
This book is a valuable read for anyone with loved ones and all health care professionals, politicians.................
We do need to question why so many people go into hospital to die. It's an awful way to go. I was present in a hospital when somebody died. She was in the bed opposite the person I was visiting. She had been there several weeks. I could not avoid hearing the the distress of her children as she died, her husband asking why it had taken two hours to get a doctor to her and a discussion of why she had not been resuscitated, all in a ward with about 8 other acutely ill patients in ear shot. Worst of all I heard the ward sister, who had initially comforted the husband, laughing out loud at the nurses station a few feet away not 10 minutes later.
Not all of us will die at home but hospitals could do better. 18 months later I was with the same relative when she died in a nursing home - she was too ill to be nursed at home. When she died we informed the nurse on duty and as they laid her out we heard them speaking to her by name just as they had when she was alive. They knew her as a person, not a patient.
The cases describe how the medical profession at the time, being bound by what they thought the relatives would want and terrified of potential future accusations of negligence, saw it as their duty to keep patients alive as long as possible, regardless of the circumstances and, in many cases, the patients' own wishes expressed earlier. Jennifer, as a young nurse, expressed her misgivings and was basically told that she should keep quiet as this was a 'difficult' subject and could get her into all sorts of bother.
Her descriptions of the cases and the stories leading up to these situations are described in her wonderfully easy to read style with genuine concern and compassion. Her conclusions as to the best way to care for terminally ill patients are backed up by appendices of scientific reports and references for further reading. Altough she was, by the time of writing this, a committed Christian, she never forces her religious beliefs into her arguments - she merely describes her own and other nurses' personal experiences of the changes which they have seen come over someone at the time of death, how it appears that people are aware when it is their time, and seem to be free of any negative emotions at the end if they are allowed to die at the 'natural' time. In the early days, it was part of the nurse's job to sit with the dying person and hold their hand to ease this passing or end, depending on your viewpoint.
Not the easiest of books to read, particularly if you have had or are having personal experience of this situation. It had me in tears several times. A beautiful, important and well-written book.