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PBS Frontline - Being Mortal with Atul Gawande

There has been a lot of talk recently about the PBS Frontline program Being Mortal with physician Atul Gawande. Volunteer Herb Archer shared his thoughts about viewing the film:

“A deeply-moving and profound film. The author, a surgeon at Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston, shows the professional and personal struggles of medical staff and client families through an intimate look at five dying patients, including the author's father, himself a medical doctor.

Front and center is the exquisite and excruciating dilemma of holding out hope on the one hand, but also being prepared to craft those final moments into a time of making meaning.

Some notable quotes, paraphrased below

  • "Medical school left us unprepared for this... The medicine is the easy part..."
  • "My oncologist is an optimist." "(Medicine gives us) sacrifice for now in the hope for possible time later.... "Can't always count on a doc to lead the way..."
  • "It matters a lot to people how their stories come to a close..." "These last four weeks have been the best in my life."
  • "Dying is only acceptable because we as humans live for something bigger than ourselves."

Not only did this connect with me personally, but as a volunteer I valued hearing these five stories -- probably not unlike the stories of the people we will soon encounter. The various patterns of their struggles are likely universal.”

You may also view the program online anytime. Click Here