Can We Talk? Breaking the Silence Between Patients, Families and Physicians Near the End of Life

Event has passed (Tue Oct 24, 2017 - Tue Oct 24, 2017)
The Commonwealth Club
06:00 PM
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Katy Butler, Author, Knocking on Heaven’s Door Haider Warraich, MBBS, Author, Modern Death; Senior Cardiology Fellow, Duke University School of Medicine In Conversation with Dawn Gross, M.D., Ph.D., Hospice and Palliative Medicine Physician, UCSF Medical Center; Host, 91.7 FM KALW's "Dying To Talk"
Why is it so hard to talk about our own mortality, especially with doctors and people we love? The more death is medicalized, the more a conspiracy of silence seems to reign over these vital discussions. As a culture, we have become far more at ease at talking about how to ward off death than how to prepare for a peaceful one. As a result, many families have distressing end-of-life experiences. They wind up wishing that key conversations had been more realistic—or that they had happened at all.  Whether you’re a patient or doctor, spouse or adult child, each of us has different reasons for avoiding this difficult issue. This program will explore how to break the conspiracy of silence and begin to have honest, meaningful and even reassuring conversations about what matters most near life’s end.
Katy Butler, a memoirist and investigative reporter, became fascinated by the medical-industrial complex after she witnessed her parents’ deaths—one swift and timely, the other agonizingly prolonged by medical technology. An advocate for medical reform and founder of the Slow Medicine Facebook group, she is currently writing a guide to navigating what she calls a “broken” medical system through old age and chronic illness to death itself. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, and The Wall Street Journal. Dr. Haider Warraich’s experience in internal medicine and cardiology inspires his writing on the convergence of science and medicine, culture and morality, and medical advances and end-of-life care. An expert on the ways that modern medicine has changed death, Warraich has advocated for more truthful conversations between physicians, patients and families. He is a contributor to The New York Times, The Atlantic and The Wall Street Journal. He has appeared on CNN, PBS and FOX as well as BBC Radio and NPR.
Location: 110 The Embarcadero, San Francisco Time: 5:30 p.m. networking reception, 6 p.m. program, 7 p.m. book signing MLF: Health & Medicine Program organizer: Mark Zitter
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  1. The Commonwealth Club 555 Post Street, San Francisco, CA