SYRACUSE — Chautauqua -Wawasee will host its first book discussion from 2 -3 p.m. at the Oakwood Resort Inn, 702 E. Lake View Road, Syracuse. The event will be held on the first floor in conference room No. 1 that is wheel chair accessible. Admission is free.
The book being discussed is “Being Mortal,” by Atul Gawande. Chautauqua-Wawasee is teaming up with Becky Bower, head of adult programming at the Syracuse Public Library and Parkview Hospital. Brower will moderate the discussion while Dr. Jefferey Brown, director of wellness and hospice at Parkview, will sit in on the discussion panel.
Brown is familiar with “Being Mortal” and has been on panel discussions before.
Commenting on the book, “Time Magazine” said, “This should be mandatory reading for every American.”
Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming the dangers of childbirth, injury and disease from harrowing to manageable. But when it comes to the inescapable realities of aging and death, what medicine can d often runs counter to what it should. “Being Mortal” reveals the suffering this dynamic has produced. Nursing homes, devoted above all to safety, battle with residents over the food they are allowed to eat and the choices they are allowed to make. Doctors, uncomfortable discussing patient’s anxieties about death, fall back on false hopes and treatments that are actually shortening lives instead of improving them. Riveting, honest and humane, “Being Mortal” shows how the ultimate goal is not a good death, but a good life-all they way to the very end.
Mark Knecht of Chautauqua-Wawasee said “Being Mortal” was recommended to him after his parents died. Knecht’s father died in Aug. 2017 while his mother died in 2018.
“I think the book helped me understand she really wanted to die when he died, “ Knecht said about his mom in a phone interview. His mother suffered some physical ailments after his father’s death. The rehabilitation facility she lived at was pushing his mom to do rehab.
Knecht believes if personnel at the facility had read the book they would better understood end of life issues.
Chautauqua-Wawasee sent the book to care facilities throughout the area. One in Fort Wayne is sending a few staff members and has asked Chautauqua-Wawasee to do a repeat of the panel at its location for its entire staff.
Knecht said the book is fun and easy to read. PBS did a special on the book several years ago. The library has copies of both the book and PBS special are available for check out. “I think there would be value even if people haven’t read the book,” Knecht said.