"A heart-wrenching and provocative memoir about how the essential parts of one young woman's early life--her mother's work as a surgeon and her spiritual practice--led her to become a doctor and to question the premise that medicine exists to prolong life at all costs. Dr. Sunita Puri's parents grew... Full description
"A heart-wrenching and provocative memoir about how the essential parts of one young woman's early life--her mother's work as a surgeon and her spiritual practice--led her to become a doctor and to question the premise that medicine exists to prolong life at all costs. Dr. Sunita Puri's parents grew up in urban India, in extreme poverty. Yet they managed not only to reach America, but her mother become a renowned anesthesiologist too. As a young girl, Puri realized that the gulf between her parents' experiences and her own was nearly impossible to bridge, save for two elements: medicine and faith. Puri spent her childhood in nurse's lounges waiting for her mother to exit the OR, and also in deep conversation with her parents about the role of faith in shaping a compassionate life. As a young woman, Puri followed her mother into medicine. But as the years of her training passed, Puri began to question medicine's power. Were patients' lives being saved, or merely prolonged? What did doctors understand when patients use words like "warrior," "survive," "recover"? Eventually, Puri's questions led her to palliative care--a new field, one at work translating the border between medical intervention and quality of life care. By helping patients think through radical medical decisions, Puri balanced the pull of her family's faith and the incessant and sterile push of Western medicine. Written in gorgeous, evocative prose, That Good Night shares Puri's own stories along with her patients' to reveal a nuanced and optimistic portrait of medicine and hospitalization, arming readers with questions that will revolutionize the way we connect with our doctors"--
xiii, 301 pages ; 24 cm
Sunita Puri is an assistant professor of clinical medicine at the University of Southern California, and medical director of palliative medicine at the Keck Hospital and Norris Cancer Center. She has published essays in The New York Times, Slate, The Journal of the American Medical Association, and JAMA-Internal Medicine . She lives in Los Angeles.