Hospice & Palliative Care hosting quarterly book talk Wednesday in Potsdam
Monday, September 11, 2017 - 5:30 pm

POTSDAM -- Hospice and Palliative Care of St. Lawrence Valley invites community members to join them for their quarterly book discussion group Wednesday, Sept. 13, from 5-6:30 p.m. at the Hospice Center, 6805 U.S. Highway 11.

Hospice’s Book group discusses books on issues related to aging, illness, caregiving and end-of-life and is facilitated by hospice volunteer manager Linda Caamaño.

This quarter’s book selection is “Extreme Measures: Finding a Better Path to End of Life” by Dr. Jessica Zitter.

For readers of “Being Mortal and Modern Death,” Zitter’s Extreme Measures offers a framework for a better way to exit life that will change our medical culture at the deepest level.

Jessica Zitter is an ICU and Palliative Care specialist who became a doctor because she wanted to be a hero. She elected to specialize in critical care—to become an ICU physician—and imagined herself swooping in to rescue patients from the brink of death. But then during her first code she found herself cracking the ribs of a patient so old and frail it was unimaginable he would ever come back to life. She began to question her choice.

“Extreme Measures” charts Zitter’s journey from wanting to be one kind of hero to becoming another — a doctor who prioritizes the patient’s values and preferences in an environment where the default choice is the extreme use of technology. In our current medical culture, the old and the ill are put on what she terms the “end-of-life conveyor belt.”

They are intubated, catheterized, and even shelved away in care facilities to suffer their final days alone, confused, and often in pain.

In her work Zitter has learned what patients fear more than death itself: the prospect of dying badly.

She builds bridges between patients and caregivers, formulates plans to allay patients’ pain and anxiety, and enlists the support of loved ones so that life can end well, even beautifully.

Filled with rich patient stories that make a compelling medical narrative, “Extreme Measures” enlarges the national conversation as it thoughtfully and compassionately examines an experience that defines being human.

Interested individuals are asked to register by contacting Linda at 315-265-3105 or lcaamano@hospiceslv.org. The group is free to register; participants are responsible for obtaining their own books.

The book is available for purchase through major retailers including Amazon and Barnes and Noble.