How impressive is a doctor

End of life: Impressive personal experiences

An extraordinary book that is enriching for every medical professional has been published, the title of which evokes oppression, but also arouses curiosity about how such an experienced doctor deals with borderline situations at the end of life in emergency, intensive care and disaster medicine. It is to be hoped that as many doctors as possible, not just anesthesiologists, read this book in order to enjoy the ever-threatening danger of “specialist idiocy”. The author is an extremely experienced anesthetist and emergency physician, who at the end of his professional career makes a sometimes very personal commitment to “suffering, dying and living” in the midst of society. He has been supported quite impressively by Protestant and Catholic theologians, but also by members of the Islamic spiritual tradition and Muslim religious practice. Their view of things is so far quite strange and therefore so worth reading, because in a multicultural society you are confronted with patients of different denominations.

After the chapter “The doctor in the field of tension between suffering, dying and life”, which opens up a view of everyday clinical practice from a more ethical point of view, the author deals with emergency medicine. The numerous personal experiences described by the author with emergency situations are impressive. He especially points out the threat of brutalization against experienced emergency physicians and paramedics. Because especially in emergency medicine, empathy is extremely appropriate, not least towards relatives. The same applies, of course, to intensive care medicine, to which a further chapter is dedicated.

On more than 30 pages of the book, Adams then describes his “personal path of life and faith”. Experiencing this path is exciting and stimulating at the same time. He shows again and again how Adam as a Catholic Christian went through life despite hostility and doubts and did not lose his faith, as it happens to so many people today.

In the last part of the book, the question “What does dying in human dignity mean?” Is examined. Here representatives of Catholic moral theology, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, from a Jewish point of view and finally also authors standing in the Islamic spiritual tradition and Muslim religious practice give informative and often very thought-provoking answers.

Adams has written a very personal book with many personal experiences and evaluations that are thought-provoking and permeated with his deep Catholic faith. This gives the reader the opportunity to open up new horizons. Thea Koch

Hans Anton Adams: Of the last things. Lehmanns Media, Berlin 2015, 230 pages, hardback, 19.95 euros