Recently I discovered the thoughts of Katy Butler, author of “Knocking on Heaven’s Door”. There is a New York Times review of her book by Abraham Verghese, professor and senior associate chairman for the theory and practice of medicine at Stanford University, who is the author of the novel “Cutting for Stone.”
The book ponders the NeverNeverland of a not uncommon medical nightmare that kept her mother on sustained and exhausting caretaking duty in her late 70’s while her husband’s overall health declined as his pacemaker-assisted heart kept him alive. The situation was compounded by a medical system that fails to fully apprise patients of the full consequence of specific medical interventions. The irony of the disputed decision to give her husband a pacemaker tragically resulted in no Medicare diagnosis of a terminal illness and thus no relief for the family with a Medicare-supported hospice team.