This article is a sad and familiar echo. In April, a friend and fellow congregant lost her ability to walk. She was placed in one nursing home, then another. As time went by, she was shuttled around to three local hospitals and then sent back to the second nursing home, where eventually she entered hospice care.
During that time, my friend seemed to decline a little every time I saw her. She never returned home, she never improved and, finally, she died in July.
Could her final months have been more difficult? It's hard to see how.
Extending life with heroic measures when the end is in sight is caused by our cultural resistance to death. Families, individuals and our healthcare system are burdened by costs and needless suffering due to an antiquated attitude that death is some kind of failure.