** Knocking on Heaven’s Door by Katy Butler


In Knocking on Heaven’s Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death, the author tells the story of her  father’s painful decline and death, and the strain it put on her and especially her mother. The author believes that the root of their problem lies in the implantation of a pacemaker following a stroke, pacemaker that will continue to stimulate his heart past his actual death. It’s not entirely clear that the pacemaker was the central problem, alas, old age and dementia seem to be more likely culprits, so her crusade to deactivate her father’s pacemaker and allow others to do the same when needed takes an outsized place in the book, in my mind, but she does a great job of describing the medical establishment’s reluctance to ever give up  on aggressive care, along with the tremendous burden and grief of caregivers.

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