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How Do You Talk To Loved Ones About End-Of-Life Care?

Joe Takach kisses Lillian Landry as she spends her last days in the hospice wing of an Oakland Park, Fla hospital. She made her end-of-life decisions, listing how she wanted to spend her last time and how she wanted to be buried. (J Pat Carter/AP)

Joe Takach kisses Lillian Landry as she spends her last days in the hospice wing of an Oakland Park, Fla hospital. She made her end-of-life decisions, listing how she wanted to spend her last time and how she wanted to be buried. (J Pat Carter/AP)

There’s one conversation that few people want to have — even though most people think it’s important to have it. It’s the one about death. More specifically, about how we want to live at the end of our lives — and how we want to die.

It sounds grim, but Ellen Goodman says it doesn’t have to be. And 90 percent of Americans believe it’s an important conversation one to have, but less than 30 percent of us have actually had it.

Ellen Goodman and Dr. Atul Gawande will be at Rialto Wednesday night for a dinner that’s part of a nationwide “Let’s Have Dinner and Talk About Death” series.

Guests

Ellen Goodman, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and co-founder and director of “The Conversation Project,” a public engagement campaign dedicated to helping people talk about end-of-life care which tweets @convoproject.

Dr. Atul Gawande, surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and author of “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End.” He tweets @Atul_Gawande.

More

Slate: No Risky Chances

  • “I had never seen anyone die before I became a doctor, and when I did, it came as a shock. I’d seen multiple family members—my wife, my parents, and my children—go through serious, life-threatening illnesses, but medicine had always pulled them through. I knew theoretically that my patients could die, of course, but every actual instance seemed like a violation, as if the rules I thought we were playing by were broken.”

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