Faculty Book: David J. Bearison
David J. Bearison
When Treatment Fails: How Medicine Cares for Dying Childrens
(Oxford University Press, 2006)
Medical care of the terminally ill is one of the most emotionally fraught and controversial issues before the public today. David Bearison looks at the issue from the perspective of the medical staff caring for dying children—doctors, nurses, and counselors. In capturing their stories, he moves beyond broad, abstract ideas about end-of-life care to convey the situated contexts of such care, including the complications, disagreements, frustrations, confusions, and unexpected setbacks. In discussing questions regarding whether or not to withhold or withdraw curative treatments, he explores the medical practitioners’ crucial concerns: education and training, relation with one another, communicating with patients and families, and finally, coping and moving on. Ultimately, the threads connecting these themes are the great costs and rewards of this difficult work, and the lessons that can be drawn from the nitty-gritty experiences of medical practitioners who struggle to find the balance between trying to defeat death and trying to provide comfort. David Bearison is a professor of educational psychology and psychology at The Graduate Center.
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Submitted on: FEB 9, 2006