death

Bill Radke talks to Nina Cesare, University of Washington sociology doctoral student, about the study she co-authored with fellow doctoral student Jennifer Brandstad that explored the way people discuss death on Twitter and how that changes the conversation around death. 

Execution Halted For Jeff Wood, Who Never Killed Anyone

Aug 19, 2016

From the Texas Tribune:

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has halted the execution of Jeff Wood — a man who never killed anyone — six days before he was set to die by lethal injection.

Cynthia Beal was looking for a new thing. It was 2004. She’d just sold her successful natural foods grocery store in Eugene and wondered what venture she should embark upon next.

“I thought to myself, what is gonna happen to our bodies when we die? What do we do? How to we dispose of ourselves? What do we do with us? That was just a fascinating question,” she says.

We hear a lot about the size of a person's carbon footprint — how much they use electricity, drive a car, fly on airplanes.

In India, some people are trying to shrink the carbon footprints of the dead.

At least 20 times a day, Braj Kishore Pandey sings a mantra as he lays a human body on a pile of firewood to burn. "There is a request from god for the freedom for the release of the soul, and also for the happiness for the family," he says.

The first death was on the night of Jan. 9.

It was a Saturday. Pele Kristiansen spent the morning at home, drinking beers and hanging out with his older brother, which wasn't so unusual. There wasn't a lot of work in town. A lot of people drank. In the afternoon, they heard someone banging on their door, yelling.

"Polar bear! It's a polar bear!"

On the frozen fjord a couple of miles away, they could see the bear. Hunting in the Arctic — bears and reindeer and seals and birds — is at the core of Inuit life, even today.

Doctors know it's important to talk with their patients about end-of-life care.

But they're finding it tough to start those conversations. When they do, they're not sure what to say, according to a national poll released Thursday.

Earlier this year, when her father was in the final stages of lung and liver cancer, Eva Vega-Olds spoke to him for the final time. Leonardo Vega, 73, had been in hospice care at his home in New Jersey, so weak that he could barely muster the strength to answer his daughter's questions.

But still, Eva asked them — and took the opportunity to tell her father what he meant to her. And she recorded the conversation for StoryCorps, using her smartphone.

On the drive to Fairview Cemetery in the Boston neighborhood of Hyde Park, six seniors from Roxbury Latin boys' school sit in silent reflection. Mike Pojman, the school's assistant headmaster and senior adviser, says the trip is a massive contrast to the rest of their school day, and to their lives as a whole right now.

Today the teens have volunteered to be pallbearers for a man who died alone in September, and for whom no next of kin was found. He's being buried in a grave with no tombstone, in a city cemetery.

Are hospitals doing everything they should to make sure they don't make mistakes when declaring patients brain-dead? A provocative study finds that hospital policies for determining brain death are surprisingly inconsistent and that many have failed to fully implement guidelines designed to minimize errors.

Updated at 9:15 p.m. ET.

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed landmark legislation Monday, allowing terminally ill patients to obtain lethal medication to end their lives when and where they choose.

In a deeply personal note, Brown said he read opposition materials carefully, but in the end was left to reflect on what he would want in the face of his own death.

Jonathan Bartels is a nurse working in emergency care. He says witnessing death over and over again takes a toll on trauma workers — they can become numb or burned out.

But about two years ago, after Bartels and his team at the University of Virginia Medical Center, in Charlottesville, Va., tried and failed to resuscitate a patient, something happened.

"We had worked on this patient for hours, and the chaplain came in and kind of stopped everyone from leaving the room," Bartels recalls.

Penguin Random House

It's the time of year when many of us look to relax with a good book in a pleasant spot, away from the usual chatter of life, a time when Town Hall takes a month off for goodness sake, for a well-earned break and to avoid overheating its guests. It's usually not a time we're thinking about death.

Recognizing they lacked votes in a key Assembly committee, authors of legislation that would have allowed terminally ill Californians to legally end their lives pulled the bill Tuesday morning.

When Jennifer Glass goes to Sacramento on Tuesday to deliver testimony in favor of the California End-of-Life-Options Act, the trip will require some complex logistics.

Col. Kenneth Trzepkowski, chief of palliative care at Madigan Army Medical Center, unfolds one of the handmade quilts donated to the hospital for the palliative care patients.
KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

Caring for the nation's veterans at the end of their lives can be a complex task. Service members — especially combat veterans — can struggle with guilt, abandonment and regret.

The Army and the Department of Veterans Affairs are working to help them. At one Army hospital in Tacoma, its mission is to make those last days meaningful.

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