Review published on August 7, 2017.
The title of the book explains it all, Modern Death by Haider Warraich. The very title intrigued me enough to want to read it straight away, in a calculated, macabre way maybe, but interesting. It basically tells of how medicine has changed the way of death in the modern world. We fully expect that medicine can prolong life, or is it in fact that modern medicine techniques are actually prolonging death in its normally accepted, natural form?
Reading through this book’s pages raises ones awareness of how so many facets relative to death can occur, but are largely ignored by us until either late in life, or too late. The author, himself a physician and clinical researcher, is trying to raise awareness of mortality, to discuss your plans, your ideas, your wishes. We as people would rather not talk about the inevitable for some reason that I personally fail to grasp. The Internet, social networking, organ donor organisations and others are beginning to highlight these issues, creating discussions and dialogue, but it is a mere drop in the ocean to what is needed.
I really did engage with the entire book, it certainly makes you think, sometimes annoyingly aloud to others. It features many aspects, theology, history, cell death, medicine, the political implications of euthanasia, assisted suicide, terminal illness, and so on. Each category becomes yet another fascinating expose. It is written in a brilliantly devised way that makes it easier to understand, not so deep that the layman cannot understand it, although I did look up a couple of medical terms. Some particular case studies made me think seriously about my own situation, or others.
We, as humans, the so-called superior species, should really begin to discuss, openly, the inevitable demise of each of us. We like to think we are immortal, but the truth is, we are nowhere near it, despite the plastic surgery, and drug intake.
A simply explained way that death has amended itself over the years, is that today, most deaths happen in either hospitals/hospices, or in care homes, whereas not that long ago, most deaths occurred in the home. This is how modern death has morphed into such a complicated business. By reading this book, I feel better acquainted with the many peculiarities that surround our final act.
Where do you stand over the right to die debate? Why is it so hard to die with dignity? Where does one go when you need to talk to people who could help your decisions? A great many of these questions are answered, perhaps not to your satisfaction totally, but the book does make it easy to at least begin the search. I fully endorse the author’s task, of getting the subject out in the public domain, instead of lurking around the periphery of discussion.
Reg Seward 4/4
Modern Death by Haider Warraich
Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd 9780715652398 hbk Jul 2017
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