Hospital intensive care units have changed when and how we die--and not always for the better. So says medical researcher and ICU physician Samuel Brown. In his new book “Through the Valley of Shadows: Living Wills, Intensive Care, and Making Medicine Human” (Oxford University Press) Dr. Brown uses stories from his clinical practice to outline a new way of thinking about life-threatening illness.
He acknowledges the conflicting emotions we have when talking about the possibility of death and proposes strategies for patients, their families, and medical practitioners so they can better address human needs before, during, and after serious illness. Arguing that any solution to the problems of the inhumanity of intensive care must take advantage of new research on the ways human beings process information and make choices, Dr. Brown imagines a truly humane ICU. His manifesto for reform advocates wholeness and healing for people facing life-threatening illness.
Dr. Samuel Brown is a medical researcher, ICU physician, and historian of religion and culture. He is Assistant Professor of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and Medical Ethics and Humanities at Intermountain Medical Center/University of Utah and director of the Center for Humanizing Critical Care at Intermountain. He was trained at Harvard College and Harvard Medical School.