Modern Death: How Medicine Changed the End of Life
By Haider Warraich
Extreme Measures: Finding a Better Path to the End of Life
By Jessica Nutik Zitter
Two physicians, each gifted, thoughtful observers, tackle a subject that’s rarely discussed ahead of the event: death. Zitter, whose work in an Oakland ICU was the subject of the recent Netflix documentary Extremis, has a deft directness. She presents multiple perspectives — the anxious family, a confused patient, clashing opinions between health care professionals and her own internal conflicts — in spare, riveting prose. Warraich, a cardiology fellow at Duke University, leans more toward the poetic. Both writers, however, look tough end-of-life issues right in the eye and, with intelligence and sensitivity, invite their readers to do the same.