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 k / o
                                       politics + culture

Friday, August 19, 2005

real compassion

Yesterday Terry Gross interviewed Dr. Jerald Winakur, a geriatric care physician specializing in the ethics of compassionate end-of-life care.

Here's a man who deals with something that our society hides from: old age and death, every day...and has found ways to talk about these realities that are wise and inspiring. Listening to him describe the story of taking the car keys away from his father is poignant and, somehow, unexpectedly full of insight.

You see, Dr. Winakur is able to contextualize...in a society riven by self-interest and "fake" compassion...the decision to stop driving (or in his father's case, the non-decision) within the idea of being an ethical member of society. He makes clear to his patients that the choice to do something that feels like "denial" and "retreating from the world"...is also a deeply compassionate act on the part of the older person making that choice...and act that actually binds them to that world and places them in it.

This is a wise and compassionate man. You won't regret listening to this piece if you haven't already. He's also written an article in Health Affairs entitled What are we going to do with Dad? that tells the same story.

If you think that forthright honesty has "power"...you'll appreciate this article: worth a read.


  • Hey Paul,

    Nice post right next to the youth-culture, punk piece--the simple juxtaposition of the two really gets across the open, democratic nature of your blog.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:25 PM  

  • Thanks, I appreciate that.


    By Blogger kid oakland, at 9:21 AM  

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