Just a few generations ago, serious illness, like hazardous weather, arrived with little warning, and people either lived through it or died. In this important, convincing, and long-overdue call for health care reform, Joanne Lynn demonstrates that our current health system, like our concepts of health and disease, developed at a time when life was mostly short, serious illnesses and disabilities were common at every age, and dying was quick. Today, most Americans live a long life, with the disabilities and discomforts of progressive chronic illness appearing only during the final chapters of their life stories. Sick to Death and Not Going to Take It Anymore! maintains that health care and community services are not set up to meet the needs of the large number of people who face a prolonged period of progressive illness and disability before death. Lynn offers what she calls an "owner's manual for the health care system," which lays out facts, concepts, strategies, and action plans for genuine reform and gives the reader new ways to interpret information creatively, imagine innovative possibilities, and take steps to implement them.
Joanne Lynn is Director of The Washington Home Center for Palliative Care Studies, Senior Scientist at the RAND Corporation, and President of Americans for Better Care of the Dying. She is the coauthor of Improving Care for the End of Life: A Sourcebook for Health Care Managers and Clinicians (2000) and Handbook for Mortals: Guidance for People Facing Serious Illness (1999), among other books. She has coedited several books, including A Good Dying: Shaping Health Care for the Last Months of Life (1998) and By No Extraordinary Means: The Choice to Forgo Life-Sustaining Food and Water (1986). She has also been a physician serving people living out the end of life in hospices, nursing homes, home care, and hospitals.