Coverart for item
The Resource Knocking on heaven's door : the path to a better way of death, Katy Butler

Knocking on heaven's door : the path to a better way of death, Katy Butler

Label
Knocking on heaven's door : the path to a better way of death
Title
Knocking on heaven's door
Title remainder
the path to a better way of death
Statement of responsibility
Katy Butler
Title variation
Knocking on heavens door
Title variation remainder
the path to a better way of death
Creator
Author
Subject
Language
eng
Summary
  • "An exquisitely written, expertly reported memoir and expose; of modern medicine that leads the way to more humane, less invasive end-of-life care based on the author's acclaimed New York Times Magazine piece. This is the story of one daughter's struggle to allow her parents the peaceful, natural deaths they wanted and to investigate the larger forces in medicine that stood in the way. When doctors refused to disable the pacemaker that caused her eighty-four-year-old father's heart to outlive his brain, Katy Butler, an award-winning science writer, embarked on a quest to understand why modern medicine was depriving him of a humane, timely death. After his lingering death, Katy's mother, nearly broken by years of nonstop caregiving, defied her doctors, refused open-heart surgery, and insisted on facing death the old-fashioned way: bravely, lucidly, and head on. Against this backdrop of familial love, wrenching moral choices, and redemption, Knocking on Heaven's Door celebrates the inventors of the 1950s who cobbled together lifesaving machines like the pacemaker and it exposes the tangled marriage of technology, medicine, and commerce that gave us a modern way of death: more painful, expensive, and prolonged than ever before. Caring for declining parents is a reality facing millions who may someday tell a doctor: "Let my parent go." A riveting exploration of the forgotten art of dying, Knocking on Heaven's Door empowers readers to create new rites of passage to the "Good Deaths" our ancestors so prized. Like Jessica Mitford's The American Way of Death and How We Die by Sherwin Nuland, it is sure to cause controversy and open minds"--
  • "A blend of memoir and investigation of the choices we face when our terror of death collides with the technological imperatives of modern medicine"--
Tone
Writing style
Award
New York Times Notable Book, 2013
Review
  • /* Starred Review */ In this eloquent exegesis on taking control of the end of one’s life, Butler defines a “good death” as one that is free from unnecessary medical intervention and faced with acceptance and dignity. The book is an expansion of her groundbreaking New York Times Magazine article, published in June 2010. A journalist living in Northern California, Butler helped her aging parents, who lived in Middletown, Conn., through several serious health issues (both parents have since died). She writes affectingly of her parents’ wishes to make moral decisions about their deaths—in spite of the medical establishment’s single-minded efforts to prolong their lives, regardless of the quality of those lives. Butler’s father had a pacemaker installed in 2003 after an earlier stroke, allowing his heart to continue functioning indefinitely even as his overall health deteriorated. The brunt of his care fell on Butler’s prickly, authoritarian mother—to the anguish of Butler, who eventually became her father’s caregiver, despite living 3,000 miles away and having two able-bodied younger brothers. Butler usefully weighs the benefits of life-prolonging medical care, and argues persuasively for helping elders face death with foresight and bravery. Agent: Amanda Urban, ICM. (Sept.) --Staff (Reviewed May 27, 2013) (Publishers Weekly, vol 260, issue 21, p)
  • /* Starred Review */ Butler's story about the deaths of her parents illustrates the good and the bad of health care in America and the need for those affected to make more informed choices. The author shares many memories of her parents so that readers will see them as real people, making their experience all the more compelling. With her father, Butler tried to get the best care she could, including help for her mother in the home, but with a health-care system that pays for interventions such as surgical procedures instead of prioritizing therapy or regular help, it was difficult. Butler makes readers question the ethics of extreme measures to prolong life and the need for discussions of living wills, DNR bracelets, and other end-of-life issues. She also makes a case for hospice or palliative care being available for all who want or need it. While Butler's father's death was difficult, her mother was able to die the way she wanted. VERDICT An excellent book for adult children who are concerned about their parents and anyone who wants to learn more about end-of-life choices.— Margaret Henderson, Virginia Commonwealth Univ. Libs., Richmond --Margaret Henderson (Reviewed September 15, 2013) (Library Journal, vol 138, issue 15, p93)
  • (The following is a combined review for KNOCKING ON HEAVEN&#39 and S DOOR)A forthright memoir on illness and investigation of how to improve end-of-life scenarios. "Every day across the country, family caregivers find themselves pondering a medical procedure that may save the life--or prevent the dying--of someone beloved and grown frail," writes journalist Butler. But when is it time to stop intervening and let nature take its course? Should medical procedures be performed to save a life regardless of the monetary costs and the toll it takes on an entire family? These are the questions Butler examines in this honest, moving memoir, as she details the last several years of her father's life after he suffered a severe stroke. The once-vibrant, sometimes-caustic man she knew from her childhood was no longer fully there, and a pacemaker was installed prior to a hernia operation to help ward off complications from this procedure. However, the device didn't prevent a slow, steady decline of body and mind, and Butler describes the often agonizing physical and emotional toll this disintegration took on her father, her mother (who was the primary caregiver) and herself. Her mother gave up having a life of her own as she tended to her husband, who more resembled an adult-sized infant than the husband she had known and loved for more than 40 years. Ultimately, the placement of the pacemaker prolonged a life that possibly should have ended many years before, and it is this decision that Butler struggles with throughout the book. When her mother grew ill, she refused treatments and "died like a warrior. Her dying was painful, messy, and imperfect, but that is the uncontrollable nature of dying." With candidness and reverence, Butler examines one of the most challenging questions a child may face: how to let a parent die with dignity and integrity when the body has stopped functioning. Honest and compassionate thoughts on helping the elderly through the process of dying.(Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2013)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10217171
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1949-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Butler, Katy
Dewey number
616.029
Index
no index present
Literary form
non fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Terminal care
  • Euthanasia
  • Adult children of aging parents
  • Terminal care
Target audience
adult
http://bibfra.me/vocab/lite/titleRemainder
the path to a better way of death
Label
Knocking on heaven's door : the path to a better way of death, Katy Butler
Instantiates
Publication
Copyright
Bibliography note
Includes bibliography
Carrier category
volume
Content category
text
Contents
Contents : pt. I The Stroke -- ch. 1 Along Came a Blackbird -- ch. 2 A Year of Grace -- ch. 3 Rites of Passage -- pt. II Fast Medicine -- ch. 4 The Tyranny of Hope -- ch. 5 Inventing Lifesaving and Transforming Death -- ch. 6 My Father's Open Heart -- pt. III Ordeal -- ch. 7 Not Getting Better -- ch. 8 Dharma Sisters -- ch. 9 Broke-down Palace -- ch. 10 White Water -- pt. IV Rebellion -- ch. 11 The Sorcerer's Apprentice -- ch. 12 The Business of Lifesaving -- ch. 13 Deactivation -- pt. V Acceptance -- ch. 14 The Art of Dying -- ch. 15 Afterward -- pt. VI Grace -- ch. 16 Valerie Makes Up Her Mind -- ch. 17 Old Plum Tree Bent and Gnarled -- pt. VII Into the Light -- ch. 18 A Better Way of Death -- ch. 19 A Map through the Labyrinth -- ch. 20 Notes for a New Art of Dying
Control code
000051089316
Dimensions
22 cm.
Edition
First Scribner hardcover edition.
Extent
322 pages
Form of item
regular print reproduction
Isbn
9781451641974
Isbn Type
(hardback)
Other physical details
illustrations
Label
Knocking on heaven's door : the path to a better way of death, Katy Butler
Publication
Copyright
Bibliography note
Includes bibliography
Carrier category
volume
Content category
text
Contents
Contents : pt. I The Stroke -- ch. 1 Along Came a Blackbird -- ch. 2 A Year of Grace -- ch. 3 Rites of Passage -- pt. II Fast Medicine -- ch. 4 The Tyranny of Hope -- ch. 5 Inventing Lifesaving and Transforming Death -- ch. 6 My Father's Open Heart -- pt. III Ordeal -- ch. 7 Not Getting Better -- ch. 8 Dharma Sisters -- ch. 9 Broke-down Palace -- ch. 10 White Water -- pt. IV Rebellion -- ch. 11 The Sorcerer's Apprentice -- ch. 12 The Business of Lifesaving -- ch. 13 Deactivation -- pt. V Acceptance -- ch. 14 The Art of Dying -- ch. 15 Afterward -- pt. VI Grace -- ch. 16 Valerie Makes Up Her Mind -- ch. 17 Old Plum Tree Bent and Gnarled -- pt. VII Into the Light -- ch. 18 A Better Way of Death -- ch. 19 A Map through the Labyrinth -- ch. 20 Notes for a New Art of Dying
Control code
000051089316
Dimensions
22 cm.
Edition
First Scribner hardcover edition.
Extent
322 pages
Form of item
regular print reproduction
Isbn
9781451641974
Isbn Type
(hardback)
Other physical details
illustrations

Library Locations

    • Lionel Bowen Library and Community CentreBorrow it
      669-673 Anzac Parade, Marouba, NSW, 2035, AU
      -33.938111 151.237977
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