Dr. Ira Byock


How we die is the biggest national crises that we’re facing today, according to an expert on end-of-life care.

Ira Byock, M.D., rose to prominence with his first book, “Dying Well,” and in his new book, “The Best Care Possible,” he tackles the issues surrounding serious illness and dying today and his quest to transform the way we look at end-of-life issues.

With the aging of America, the end-of-life question is becoming bigger by the day, Dr. Byock says.

Even though none of us get out of life alive, we all act as if we’re going to live forever. Dr. Byock says we need to “grow up” as a culture.

He says technological advances and medical research have done wonders in helping us extend our lives and we need to use medical care for its full value. But Dr. Byock also wants the medical community to start really treating people — and their families — in ways that are tender and loving, particularly during the final phases of life. That, he says, is something we’re not doing well now.

Even though we’re now able to stave off the ravages of the disease, Dr. Byock says we also still need to plan for how our stories end — we need to prepare for death in a way that is clean, supportive and celebrates people during this final stage.

Find out why he thinks America’s current mindset about death, which is usually “I don’t want to think about it,” is making all of us less prepared and more vulnerable to a bad ending to our life stories.

He explains why it’s just as important to figure out how to care for and support a dying person’s loved ones, too.

Plus, he helps explain this history of palliative care and the state of it today. 

To learn more about Dr. Byock’s book, “The Best Care Possible,” click here to visit his website.