Our ageing population is a modern success story, and success brings problems. The new demographic is for people to die in old age, or extreme old age, but with multiple illnesses and diagnoses, and on a cocktail of medication. But where is the balance of medicine between curing and caring? Are we neglecting the wellbeing of the dying person in our desire to fight death at all costs?
Margaret McCartney, author of The Patient Paradox, examines the way we care for people at the end of life. She finds that medicine can harm as well as help, that loneliness and social isolation are endemic, and a lack of hands-on, human care means that people are not able to die where they would choose. She argues for a more compassionate and humane approach to the care of the dying which puts the needs of the individual first.
Margaret McCartney is a GP in Glasgow, and has three children. She started writing for the press after being infuriated by an article in a newspaper which claimed that CT body screening was the way to stay well. Since then she has written for most UK newspapers, as well as the British Medical Journal (BMJ), other magazines such as Vogue and Prospect, has had columns in the Guardian and the FT Weekend, and is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4's Inside Health. She has won prizes from the Medical Journalists' Association and the European School of Oncology, as well as the Healthwatch award. In 2016 she won 'Columnist of the Year' at the PPA Awards. She has a strong interest in evidence, professionalism, screening and risk. She blogs and tweets. Margaret is the author of Living with Dying and The Patient Paradox, she is currently working on her third book. www.margaretmccartney.com/blog Twitter: @mgtmccartney