October Wellness Roundup documentary “Being Mortal”

Linda Shannon-Hills

Casa de la Luz Hospice is partnering with SaddleBrooke Ranch Wellness Roundup group to show a PBS Frontline documentary called Being Mortal on Tuesday, October 11, at 4:00 p.m. in La Mesa Room. This film is based on the bestselling book of the same name by Dr. Atul Gawande. Following the film we’ll have a discussion with local experts about end-of-life care. The discussion leaders will be Callene Bentoncoury, RN and Administrator for Casa de la Luz, and Tom Saunders, chaplain from Casa de la Luz. This screening is part of a national project by the Hospice Foundation of America and underwritten by the John and Wauna Harman Foundation. Admission is free.

Dr. Gawande teams with Frontline on this documentary. The crew from Frontline follows renowned New Yorker writer and Boston surgeon Atul Gawande as he explores the relationships doctors have with patients who are nearing the end of life. In conjunction with Gawande’s book, Being Mortal, the film investigates the practice of caring for the dying and shows how doctors, himself included, are often remarkably untrained, ill-suited and uncomfortable talking about chronic illness and death with their patients. This documentary will challenge us all to reexamine how we think about death and dying.

A quote from the book.

“We’ve been wrong about what our job is in medicine. We think our job is to ensure health and survival. But really it is larger than that. It is to enable well-being. And well-being is about the reasons one wishes to be alive. Whenever serious sickness or injury strikes and your body or mind breaks down, the vital questions are the same: What is your understanding of the situation and its potential outcomes? What are your fears and what are your hopes? What are the tradeoffs you are willing to make and not willing to make? And what is the course of action that best serves this understanding?”

Atul Gawande is the author of three bestselling books: Complications, a finalist for the National Book Award; Better, selected by Amazon.com as one of the 10 best books of 2007; and The Checklist Manifesto. He is also a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1998 and a professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. He has won two National Magazine Awards, a MacArthur Fellowship and has been named one of the world’s hundred most influential thinkers by Foreign Policy and TIME. In his work as a public health researcher he is Director of Ariadne Labs, a joint center for health system innovation. And he is also co-founder and chairman of Lifebox, a global not-for-profit implementing systems and technologies to reduce surgical deaths globally. He and his wife have three children and live in Newton, Massachusetts.

If you have questions, contact Linda Shannon-Hills linda@shannonhills.net.