Dr. Samuel Harrington tells us, “In old age, Comfort Care is more important than prolonging life with excessive technology.” Not because we can’t prolong it, and not because it’s expensive, but because it’s unpleasant for everyone involved.
The goal for the majority of elderly people is to die a peaceful death at home. But because the over medicalization of our healthcare industry is out of control, with the majority of healthcare costs being exacted in the last six months of an individual’s life, that goal is subverted. The focus is set on extending life rather than relieving suffering.
Medicine has changed from a healing art to a commercial enterprise. Dr. Harrington’s personal experience of seeing his parents age, and the challenges and decisions they had to make in the face of the medical juggernaut of technology, motivated him to write a book to guide readers toward maintaining control over their deaths. In his book, At Peace: Choosing a Good Death After a Long Life, Harrington provides strategies for managing our deaths as we have managed our lives, so as not to lose control of our passing.