Death is something we will all one day face. So why is it so hard for doctors to talk with their patients about dying? How can the medical profession better help people navigate the final chapters of their lives with confidence, direction and purpose?
Three years in the making, the Being Mortal film explores the relationships between doctors and patients nearing the end of life, and shows how many doctors – including Gawande – struggle to talk honestly and openly with their patients who are dying. From the Indian hometown of Gawande’s father, whose prolonged dying process catalyzed Gawande’s quest to better understand end-of-life care, to the bedsides of patients in Boston who are navigating the ends of their lives, Being Mortal is an intimate and revealing journey with relevance to all of us.
The film — directed by Tom Jennings, who previously teamed with Gawande on the 2011 FRONTLINE film Dr. Hotspot — also explores the burgeoning art and science of palliative care and the ways in which having a conversation around the question “What are your priorities if your time is limited?” can empower patients to live their lives fully.