Nearly a quarter of Medicare's $550 billion annual budget pays for medical treatment in the last year of life. And almost a third of Medicare patients have surgery in their last month of life. But when people are fully informed about the risks of many life-prolonging procedures, they often decide against them. That's what happened to a woman in Connecticut. After the devastating experiences her husband went through following a stroke, she refused major heart surgery for herself. In a new book, the couple's daughter -- a journalist -- tells their story and offers advice for us all.
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Excerpted from KNOCKING ON HEAVEN’S DOOR: The Path to a Better Way of Death by Katy Butler. Copyright © 2013 by Katherine Anne Butler. Excerpted with permission by Scribner, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.