Humans navigate death in very different ways. Dying is a natural and inevitable part of the cycle of life; however, the process looks very different depending on geographic location, cultural traditions, access to and type of medical care, and myriad other factors. Dr. Nicole Piemonte argues that Western Medicine often views death as a medical failure or something biologically wrong that needs fixing. Is doing everything possible to “fix” death the correct approach, or might we start to look at death differently?
Dr. Piemonte addresses this and other questions in her new book, Death and Dying — part of The MIT Press Essential Knowledge series. Somewhere along the way, has dying become a business? Does a cascade of medical interventions temporarily prevent death but ultimately prolong suffering? In the 117th Episode of Town Hall’s In the Moment Podcast, Dr. Piemonte joins senior correspondent Steve Scher to discuss how we might shift from an attitude focused on biological dysfunction to one that embraces personal values and respects the emotional realities of death.
Nicole M. Piemonte, Ph.D., is the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and a faculty member in the Department of Medical Humanities at Creighton University School of Medicine, Phoenix Regional Campus. She also holds the Peekie Nash Carpenter Endowed Chair in Medicine at Creighton University. At Creighton, she designed and leads the medical humanities curriculum in the School of Medicine, and she also co-directs and teaches in the Masters of Medical Humanities program. In addition to Death and Dying, she is the author of Afflicted: How Vulnerability Can Heal Medical Education and Practice, was published in January 2018 with The MIT Press.
Steve Scher is a podcaster and interviewer and has been a teacher at the University of Washington since 2009. He worked in Seattle public radio for almost 30 years and is Senior Correspondent for Town Hall Seattle’s In The Moment podcast.
Presented by Town Hall Seattle.