An internationally renowned palliative care physician offers guidance on living with a terminal illness. Based on research funded by the Soros Foundation and extensive interviews with dying people. A profound and practical book about living with a terminal illness over a long period of time. It offers guidance, solace, and helpful strategies for people who are terminally ill, their families and caregivers.
Facing death results in more fear and anxiety than any other human experience. Western medicine has accomplished a great deal in addressing physical pain and controlling symptoms for people with a terminal illness, but much slower progress has been made in understanding and alleviating psychological and spiritual distress. In What Dying People Want, Dr. David Kuhl begins to bridge that gap. He does so by addressing end-of-life realities — physical, psychological and spiritual — through his own experiences as a doctor and through the words and experiences of people who know that they are dying.
He presents ways of addressing the pain, of finding new life in the process of dying and of understanding the inner reality of living with a terminal illness. He acknowledges the despair and recognizes the desire for hope and meaning. Dr. Kuhl also makes the provocative case that insensitive communication by doctors creates more suffering for patients than either the illness or the knowledge of impending death, and offers both the dying and their caregivers guidance on preventing painful interactions. He provides ways of speaking about difficult topics with physicians, family members, friends and those who have a terminal illness.
“This book started with a research question: What is the daily experience of living with a terminal illness? How does that experience affect your sense of self, your relationship with others, and your understanding of the spiritual? Many of those I interviewed asked me to share what they had given me with others who would follow — those with a terminal illness as well as their friends and family members who would care for them and about them. They asked specifically that I write a book for a general audience, and not only for my colleagues in the medical profession. This is the book that grew out of that research.” — Dr. David Kuhl
“A useful guide to exercising compassion and care during those terrible times, which -- properly experienced -- have so much to teach us about the meaning and value of our own lives. The life that you see lost may help you regain your own.” -- The Globe and Mail
“An all-encompassing guide for people with a terminal illness and those who know someone who is dying.” -- The New York Times
“This book is such a wonderful contribution to human knowledge and understanding.” -- The Toronto Star
Dr. David Kuhl began his career in palliative care fifteen years ago, providing medical care for people with cancer in his private practice. He later developed a palliative care program for persons with cancer and AIDS at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. The team at St. Paul’s has attended thousands of people at the end of life. A Soros Faculty Scholar and a frequent speaker across North America on palliative care and decision-making at the end of life, Dr. Kuhl is currently developing a program for doctors on communicating with patients about difficult topics. He lives in Vancouver with his family.