Tuesday, January 30, 2007
The following is from an excerpt from Dr. Chen's Q&A page:
I wrote Final Exam with the hope that it would inspire much needed discussions about end-of-life care. People have a hard time talking with one another about dying — we talk around the topic or ignore it all together — and this has been one of the biggest obstacles to all the efforts to improve end-of-life care.
The issue becomes particularly problematic when it occurs between doctors and their patients because any miscommunication means that patient care will in some way suffer. Doctors and non-doctors are often portrayed as standing at odds with one another. But I think that we ultimately share the same difficulties in grappling with death, albeit colored by our personal and professional experiences and by our cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
I hope that Final Exam will bridge the divide between doctors and their patients. I hope that it helps to support the current professional reform efforts in end-of-life care and even helps to accelerate the pace of political change. But my greatest hope is that Final Exam will create a common ground from which we can all begin to have meaningful discussions: about how we die, how we care for the dying, and ultimately how we live.
Special thanks to Neil E. Hendershot of the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania law firm of Goldberg Katzman, P.C., who also authors the PA Elder, Estate & Fiduciary Law Blog, for bringing this book to my attention. Neil has written extensively about this book here.