Thursday, November 16 @ 7PM @ Boonshoft CJCE (525 Versailles Drive, Centerville)
Dr. Jessica Nutik Zitter, M.D., M.P.H., one of the nation’s foremost critical care and palliative care physicians, is at the epicenter of the suffering that ensues when failing bodies are forced to keep going by cold machines and technology—our society’s default approach to treating dying patients. In Extreme Measures, Dr. Zitter spotlights our collective pandemic of ignoring death—doctors and patients alike—and how it inflicts tremendous and unnecessary suffering upon our loved ones for whom the end is near. Please join us for a reception immediately before Dr. Zitter’s presentation.
Death is considered a failure - both in medicine and in our culture - yet when we avoid talking about it or planning for it, we lay the groundwork for a default path onto what Dr. Zitter calls the End of Life Conveyor Belt — an end powered by life-sustaining machinery. Dr. Zitter became a doctor because she wanted to be a hero. She elected to specialize in critical care – to become an ICU physician – and imagined herself swooping in to rescue patients from the brink of death. But after the terrible experience of her first code, in which she found herself cracking the ribs of a patient so old and frail it was unimaginable he would ever be able to breathe again, she began to question her choice. Extreme Measures charts Dr. Zitter’s journey from wanting to be one kind of hero to becoming another--a doctor who midwifes death. In our current medical culture, the old and the ill are intubated, catheterized, and even shelved away in care facilities to live out their final days alone, confused, and often in pain. In her work, Dr. Zitter has come to understand that what patients often fear more than death itself is the prospect of dying alone.
Cost: $5 in advance / $8 at door