The Best Care Possible by Ira Byock
A Physician's Quest to Transform Care Through the End of Life

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I’m unhappy about the use of composite patients in some of these detailed portraits.
-NY Times

Synopsis

A palliative care doctor on the front lines of hospital care illuminates one of the most important and controversial ethical issues of our time on his quest to transform care through the end of life.

It is harder to die in this country than ever before. Statistics show that the vast majority of Americans would prefer to die at home, yet many of us spend our last days fearful and in pain in a healthcare system ruled by high-tech procedures and a philosophy to "fight disease and illness at all cost."

Dr. Ira Byock, one of the foremost palliative-care physicians in the country, argues that end-of-life care is among the biggest national crises facing us today. In addressing the crisis, politics has trumped reason. Dr. Byock explains that to ensure the best possible care for those we love-and eventually ourselves- we must not only remake our healthcare system, we must also move past our cultural aversion to talking about death and acknowledge the fact of mortality once and for all.

Dr. Byock describes what palliative care really is, and-with a doctor's compassion and insight-puts a human face on the issues by telling richly moving, heart-wrenching, and uplifting stories of real people during the most difficult moments in their lives. Byock takes us inside his busy, cutting-edge academic medical center to show what the best care at the end of life can look like and how doctors and nurses can profoundly shape the way families experience loss.

Like books by Atul Gawande and Jerome Groopman, The Best Care Possible is a compelling meditation on medicine and ethics told through page-turning, life or death medical drama. It is passionate and timely, and it has the power to lead a new kind of national conversation.

 

About Ira Byock

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Ira Byock, M.D., is a leading palliative care physician and longtime public advocate for improving care through the end of life. He is past president of the Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and cofounder of Life's End Institute: Missoula Demonstration Project, Inc., a community-based research and quality improvement organization focused on end-of-life experience and care. He heads the national Promoting Excellence in End-of-Life Care program for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He is director of palliative medicine at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and a faculty member of Dartmouth School of Medicine.
 
Published March 15, 2012 by Avery. 337 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Best Care Possible
All: 4 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Good
on Jan 30 2012

A lucid explanation of palliative care and how it can help people die better...A persuasive argument for compassionate care.

Read Full Review of The Best Care Possible : A Ph... | See more reviews from Kirkus

James Salwitz

Below average
Reviewed by James Salwitz on Apr 06 2012

There are a few areas through this book, where I might have come to different conclusions.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Paula Span on Mar 20 2012

I’m unhappy about the use of composite patients in some of these detailed portraits.

Read Full Review of The Best Care Possible : A Ph... | See more reviews from NY Times

Alex Awiti

Good
Reviewed by Alex Awiti on Apr 01 2012

Knowing what to expect, what to demand, and what limitations to accept can lessen the burdens of care giving, illness and certain death. This book is crying out to be read!

Read Full Review of The Best Care Possible : A Ph...

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admin 27 Feb 2013

Rated the book as 3 out of 5

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