September 06, 2013

Knocking on Heaven's Door: Review & Event

"A Life Too Long" is a heart-wrenching story of terminal illness, modern medicine, and family. The article, adapted from Katy Butler's new book, Knocking on Heaven's Door, was a hit with the Tricycle community. And word is spreading. This week, The New York Times reviewed Butler's new book:

'Knocking on Heaven’s Door' is a thoroughly researched and compelling mix of personal narrative and hard-nosed reporting that captures just how flawed care at the end of life has become. My hope is that this book might goad the public into pressuring their elected representatives to further transform health care from its present crisis-driven, reimbursement-driven model to one that truly cares for the patient and the family. And since life is, after all, a fatal illness and none of us are spared, there is an urgent need for us in America to reclaim death from medicine and, whenever possible, enable the ritual of dying at home with family present (and aided by all medicine can offer) so that we are allowed to take our leave from earth with dignity.

If you want more Katy Butler, you're in luck. Tricycle is pairing up with the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care for an evening with Katy Butler. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP to

We look forward to seeing you there!

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francisco's picture

I have read short summary of the book, and I am so inspired and have brought motivation.. I am so glad that I have simple ideas about this and I am willing to get the physical book.

buddhaddy's picture

So true. I have been in the healthcare industry for 30 years. I have seen hospice do many good works. That approach is what we need. But we need more discussion of when to invoke that kind of care. a "quality" life means different things to different people, and that relativity should be respected. I have seen many respectful, even Joyous in a way, deaths. Some of the cause of our dysfunctional approach to medical deaths is related to money, some to fear of death, and some to simply lazy medicine. But articles like this may help change our approach. The buddhist philosophy of death and dying is so much different than the Judeo-christian approach. While I believe that the many truly devout members of that latter group are on a good path to enlightenment, the social drives that the philosophy creates have skewed our feelings about the inevitable end of life.