living your best to the end

The Better End: Dr Dan Morhaim, Emergency MD, shares his stories

Stories: often the best way to learn about life and death For me, the best way to figure out what I’m trying to figure out is through stories. I loved The Better End: Surviving (and Dying) on Your Own Terms in Today’s Modern Medical World  by Dr Dan Morhaim, (Johns Hopkins University Press). It’s filled with stories from Dr Morhaim’s extensive career in medicine. But first: The thing that took me by surprise was Dan Morhaim’s humility and courage: A doctor admitted to being conflicted in his experiences with life-prolonging interventions! “I have several competing reactions: Sometimes I just rationalize: this is the system. I’m part of it, and I do my job as best I can. At other times, I get angry because of the agony we put patients through and because of the time, energy, money, and medical talent spent on treatment that neither cures nor comforts. Third, I feel guilty because I’m not taking steps to  stop the process. Writing this book helps.” Dr Dan Morhaim Morhaim has a mind-boggling batch of responsibilities:  Emergency and Internal Medicine physician, Deputy Majority Leader of the Maryland state Legislature’s House of Delegates, and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. That he even had time to write “The Better End” is a statement of his commitment to a Better End. Setting the stage in his introduction, “Then and Now”, Morhaim presents life and death a decade ago when there were no antibiotics, cardiac surgery, or medical devices:  A 50 year old farmer died at home when pneumonia has set in after being bed-ridden with a worsening...