The day I die The untold story of assisted dying in America

Anita Hannig

Book - 2022

"The Day I Die is a major work of nonfiction that tackles the one issue we'll all eventually come to face-our final days, hours, and minutes. With clarity and empathy, award-winning anthropologist Anita Hannig uncovers the stigma against the practice of assisted dying, untangles the legalities and logistics of pursuing an assisted death in America today, and profiles the dedicated advocates and medical personnel involved. In intimate, lyrical detail, Hannig explains why someone might c...hoose an assisted death and how that decision impacts their loved ones. In a time when nearly 80 percent of Americans die in hospitals and nursing homes, medical assistance in dying could transform the way we die for the better, allowing more people to define the terms of their own death"--

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2nd Floor New Shelf 179.7/Hannig (NEW SHELF) Checked In
Subjects
Published
Naperville, Illinois : Sourcebooks [2022]
Language
English
Item Description
Includes a reading group guide with discussion questions and "A conversation with the author".
Physical Description
297 pages ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 289-297).
ISBN
9781728244914
1728244919
Main Author
Anita Hannig (author)
  • Prologue: Nothin' about the blues
  • Introduction: A new way to die
  • Losing control.
  • Spinning away ;
  • When hospice isn't enough
  • Navigating obstacles.
  • Restrictive laws ;
  • Invisible death ;
  • A bureaucratic maze ;
  • Medical gate keepers ;
  • The science of dying ;
  • Family matters
  • Regaining control.
  • Flying free ;
  • Crossing over ;
  • Together in grief
  • The way forward.
  • New frontiers
  • Epilogue.
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* It sounds macabre to plan the end of a life, but it isn't. Cultural anthropologist Hannig tells the stories of people who "hasten" their deaths after spending five years, including eight months working as a hospice volunteer, "shadowing those on the front lines of assisted dying in America," talking to hundreds of people. She starts with Ken, a 90-year-old who suffers from congestive heart failure and an aggressive form of prostate cancer and feels more afraid of living than of dying. Hannig helps open 100 Seconal capsules for him. Before taking lethal medication, another man selflessly climbs into a body bag to make things easier for the mortuary workers. There are obstacles. Assisted-dying laws specify that patients must be able to administer the life-ending medication to themselves and must be within six months of the end of life. Some hospices refuse to cooperate, and sometimes the medications don't work. Hannig uses statistics effectively, noting that 81-percent of people who sought an assisted death in 2020 were 65 or older and that 60-percent of Americans now die in hospitals. With high-tech medicine extending life expectancy, more people are wishing for a "good death." If all goes well, assisted death mimics the process of dying calmly during sleep. Haunting and deeply informative. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"The Day I Die is a major work of nonfiction that tackles the one issue we'll all eventually come to face-our final days, hours, and minutes. With clarity and empathy, award-winning anthropologist Anita Hannig uncovers the stigma against the practice of assisted dying, untangles the legalities and logistics of pursuing an assisted death in America today, and profiles the dedicated advocates and medical personnel involved. In intimate, lyrical detail, Hannig explains why someone might choose an assisted death and how that decision impacts their loved ones. In a time when nearly 80 percent of Americans die in hospitals and nursing homes, medical assistance in dying could transform the way we die for the better, allowing more people to define the terms of their own death"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

An intimate investigation of assisted dying in America and what it means to determine the end of our lives.In this groundbreaking book, award-winning cultural anthropologist Anita Hannig brings us into the lives of ordinary Americans who go to extraordinary lengths to set the terms of their own death. Faced with a terminal diagnosis and unbearable suffering, they decide to seek medical assistance in dying—a legal option now available to one in five Americans.Drawing on five years of research on the frontlines of assisted dying, Hannig unearths the uniquely personal narratives masked by a polarized national debate. Among them are Ken, an irreverent ninety-year-old blues musician who invites his family to his death, dons his best clothes, and goes out singing; Derianna, a retired nurse and midwife who treks through Oregon and Washington to guide dying patients across life's threshold; and Bruce, a scrappy activist with Parkinson's disease who fights to expand access to the law, not knowing he would soon, in an unexpected twist of fate, become eligible himself.Lyrical and lucid, sensitive but never sentimental, The Day I Die tackles one of the most urgent social issues of our time: how to restore dignity and meaning to the dying process in the age of high-tech medicine. Meticulously researched and compassionately rendered, the book exposes the tight legal restrictions, frustrating barriers to access, and corrosive cultural stigma that can undermine someone's quest for an assisted death—and why they persist in achieving the departure they desire.The Day I Die will transform the way we think about agency and closure in the face of death. Its colorful characters remind us what we all stand to gain when we confront the hard—and yet ultimately liberating—truth of our mortality.