How We Die Author Dies at Home, Age 83
Nuland 'wasn't scared of death,' daughter says
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2014 12:16 AM CST
Dr. Sherwin Nuland. seen here in his study in Hamden, Conn., has died at age 83.    (AP Photo/Bob Child, File)

(Newser) – Dr. Sherwin Nuland, whose book How We Die sparked national debate over end-of-life decisions, has died from prostate cancer at his Connecticut home. The 83-year-old surgeon's award-winning 1994 book on death argued that death with dignity was rare and doctors too often tried to prolong life when further treatment was futile, the New York Times reports. "I have not seen much dignity in the process by which we die," he wrote. "The quest to achieve true dignity fails when our bodies fail."

In a 1996 interview, he said he hoped he would go "without suffering and surrounded by loved ones" when it was his time. His daughter says he often spoke to his family about his illness and impending death and while he was very much at peace most of the time, there were times of sadness and fear toward the end. "He wasn’t scared of death itself, but he loved everything about his world and the people in his world and life,” she tells the AP. "And he didn’t want to leave."

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Showing 3 of 13 comments
FarmerMichael
Mar 7, 2014 10:58 PM CST
We have "death with dignity" in Oregon. And it is fought tooth and nail elsewhere, mostly on religious expectations. Here, it allows palliative care to be the main emphasis over "saving" a life. The opponents of it realized that increasing palliative care reduced the need for suicide. We have had it for years and yet only 500+ have taken advantage of it...yet thousands have benefited with the better palliative care so that final "talks" can be made and the process be a good one--in as much as dying can be termed a good process. Thanks Doc for being part of the debate.
NSA-CIApuppet
Mar 7, 2014 7:24 PM CST
The death of comments. It is a supreme irony that I, who openly & notoriously speak out against winterfairy and utterly detest her as a person, would defend her right to post here. Floki is a person with whom I very frequently agree including our feelings toward winterfairy. However, where we radically part ways is that she repeatedly flags comments and 3-7-14 around 5:30pm has expressed the wish that winterfairy be banned from this site: “Just to let you know, a racist, sexist pig like yourself should be banned from newser” Mattb is a person I believe floki and I both frequently disagree with: but mattb, like floki, gets comments deleted. That means comments of opposing views are all being deleted alike. There is not and cannot be a justification ever for either. If there is then step forward now, like a grown up and make that argument explicit. Floki would have it that floki reads a comment and comes away still safe and healthy and free but would prevent forever others like myself from seeing that same comment. Flagging never resolves any issue. It perpetuates issues! It is small minded, inconsiderate and done solely for the subjective personal feelings of an individual who is not and never will be my congressman, my guardian, my conservator, my keeper, my warden, my owner, my ruler, my pope, my boss, my employer, or my parent. Floki has presumed many times to forever deprive me and many others of reading comments that floki has read. Why is floki entitled to read them but I am not? I have never done that to floki. Floki has decided for everyone that both I and the continued existence of humankind required the perfect & immaculate judgment of Newser & floki to protect us: spineless, nearsighted, loser mentality of both sides of the aisle. Flagging is weak, insecure, hateful, un-American, fascist, selfish, petty, and undemocratic. All it can do is create a self deceptive and false view that the opposing view no longer exists on this earth: out of sight, out of mind; and that leads to a misleading sense that we are all better off, safer and that it is a better world now. What type of person wants me unable to read what they were able to read; and with Newser calling the judgment! And floki gets the privilege of replying but those she blinds do not. Pathetic and disgusting. No amount of profanity; homophobia; racism; bigotry; rumor; defamation; sexism; Nazism; Communism; threats of violence or anything else justifies eradicating comments that someone else was able to read and walk away uninjured as is, of course, always the case! Self righteous. To clamp down on others and silence them is of the very essence of fascism no matter what the cause is: everyone always sees their cause as perfect and beyond question. He who flags will be hoist by his own petard! But what am I to expect from a crowd of bloggers who see all life, philosophy, thought and reality in terms of Republicans and Democrats hurling innuendos & claptrap back and forth incessantly at one another. All you do is drive your enemy underground where they are more likely to simmer, seethe, fester and act out. If you do not want paternalistic government watching out for you then stop watching out for other readers. Should some really dangerous blogger ever end up acting out after placing their intentions out in the open, and then it gets deleted, their self incriminating written comments that get deleted will be unavailable & irretrievable as proof against them, of mens rea, premeditation, propensity, intent, motive, plan, design, scheme and modus operandi. When you flag you have nothing in mind but your own personal feelings and you do a disservice to any & every cause. All you need is some genuine principle; and a click finger with a tiny tad of self control. Anyone who rationalizes deletion would not hesitate to burn books. It is censorship in its most undisguised form. When you find a comment gone that you feel your eyes could have dealt with and you feel cheated, victimized and deprived, ask yourself: did I ensconce this principle as a practice? Am I hung with my own rope? Did I supply the bullets to my own firing squad?
wartengu
Mar 5, 2014 9:25 AM CST
The best thing about death is those who own the most stuff suffer more.