Helen Stanton Chapple
2010 No Place for Dying: Hospitals and the Ideology of Rescue
Left Coast Press
324 pp. / 6.00 x 9.00 / Apr, 2010
"What makes an American hospital No Place for Dying? Helen Chapple offers a complex, multilayered reply that extends well beyond her ethnographic research methods to implicate bioethics, the wider American culture, and health care economics. She explains how rescue becomes a ritual that eventually entraps both patients and staff. The ritual begins by affirming the social value of the patient, but only at the cost of withdrawing recognition and affirmation as soon as the patient is relegated to the category 'dying.' She offers cogent observations on how the future hospital might continue the work of rescue where appropriate, while still affirming the full dignity and worth of those beyond rescue."
[Howard Brody, MD, PhD, Director, Institute for the Medical Humanities, University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston]
What does the gold standard of rescue, as ideology and industry, mean for the dying patient in the hospital and for the status of dying in American culture? This book shows how dying is a management problem for hospitals, occupying space but few billable encounters and of little interest to medical practice or quality control. An anthropologist and bioethicist with
two decades of professional nursing experience, Helen Chapple goes beyond current work on hospital care to present fine-grained accounts of the clinicians, patients, and families who navigate this uncharted, untidy, and unpredictable territory between the highly choreographed project of rescue and the clinical culmination of death. This book and its important social and policy implications make key contributions to medical anthropology, nursing, hospital administration, and health care delivery fields.
[Jennifer Collier Senior Editor, Left Coast Press, Inc.]