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Book and Media Reviews
June 8, 2011

From Dark Night to Gentle Surrender: On the Ethics and Spirituality of Hospice Care

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Hospice and Palliative Medicine, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (barnettmb@upmc.edu).

JAMA. 2011;305(22):2353-2358. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.796

Death and taxes may both be certain, but death is by far the most difficult to accept. The marvels of public health and modern medicine can help delay the inevitable, but the question remains: just because life can be prolonged, should it be? For most medical professionals, training is devoted to mastering technology and developing proficiency at prolonging life. Yet death comes despite their best efforts, and it is then, when cure proves evasive, that medical professionals must ponder what they have left to give to dying patients and their families.