Sam Parnia, M.D., Ph.D, is a leading expert on cardiac arrest resuscitation, the scientific study of death, mind-brain relationship, and near-death experiences. He is director of resuscitation research and an assistant professor of critical care medicine at the State University of New York. Parnia directs the AWARE Study (AWAreness during REsuscitation). He is a former fellow in critical care medicine at the Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York.
Josh Young is a bestselling author and journalist whose work spans entertainment, science, business, and politics. He specializes in co-writing books with notable personalities in diverse fields.
Although an increasing array of non-invasive diagnostic tools continue to develop, many physicians and operators of these new diagnostic modalities have never actually seen specimens which demonstrate the fundamental pathologic abnormalities. By providing an atlas style review of ischemic and non-ischemic etiologies of sudden cardiac death, this book opens a window to see the underlying pathology first hand.
Death is political, as the controversies surrounding Jack Kevorkian and, more recently, Terri Schiavo have shown. While death is a natural event, modern end-of-life experiences are shaped by new medical, demographic, and cultural trends. People who are dying are kept alive, sometimes against their will or the will of their family, with powerful medications, machines, and "heroic measures." Current research on end-of-life issues is substantial, involving many fields. Beyond the Good Death takes an anthropological approach, examining the changes in our concept of death over the last several decades. As author James W. Green determines, the attitudes of today's baby boomers differ greatly from those of their parents and grandparents, who spoke politely and in hushed voices of those who had "passed away." Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, in the 1960s, gave the public a new language for speaking openly about death with her "five steps of dying." If we talked more about death, she emphasized, it would become less fearful for everyone.
The term "good death" reentered the public consciousness as narratives of AIDS, cancer, and other chronic diseases were featured on talk shows and in popular books such as the best-selling Tuesdays with Morrie. Green looks at a number of contemporary secular American death practices that are still informed by an ancient religious ethos. Most important, Beyond the Good Death provides an interpretation of the ways in which Americans react when death is at hand for themselves or for those they care about.