A Life Worth Living: A Doctor's Reflections on Illness in a High-Tech Era

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Macmillan, Sep 2, 2008 - Health & Fitness - 220 pages
2 Reviews
Critical illness is a fact of life. Even those of us who enjoy decades of good health are touched by it eventually, either in our own lives or in those of our loved ones. And when this happens, we grapple with serious and often confusing choices about how best to live with our afflictions.  A Life Worth Living is a book for people facing these difficult decisions. Robert Martensen, a physician, historian, and ethicist, draws on decades of experience with patients and friends to explore the life cycle of serious illness, from diagnosis to end of life. He connects personal stories with reflections upon mortality, human agency, and the value of “cutting-edge” technology in caring for the critically ill. Timely questions emerge: To what extent should efforts to extend human life be made? What is the value of nontraditional medical treatment? How has the American health-care system affected treatment of the critically ill? And finally, what are our doctors’ responsibilities to us as patients, and where do those responsibilities end? Using poignant case studies, Martensen demonstrates how we and our loved ones can maintain dignity and resilience in the face of life’s most daunting circumstances.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - modell3 - LibraryThing

Not particularly novel or insightful. The author seems to think highly of himself and his interactions with patients. This level of arrogance in a physician who provides episodic care as an ER physician is always surprising, but unfortunately not all that uncommon. Read full review

A life worth living: a doctor's reflections on illness in a high-tech era

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Martensen (The Brain Takes Shape: An Early History), a physician, medical historian, and medical ethicist, reflects upon how patients confront illness in a time when so many treatment choices are ... Read full review


1 Trials of the Body
2 LessTraveled Paths
3 Illusions of Control
4 Elective Choices
5 Reflections on the Plight of Sick Children
6 If This Is a Person
7 Life in the Narrows
8 As Night Draws Nigh
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About the author (2008)

A physician, historian, and bioethicist, Robert Martensen has held several professorships. Recently, he joined the National Institutes of Health as director of its Office of History and Museum. In 2002 he received a Guggenheim Fellowship.

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