Segments in this Video

Being Mortal: Introduction (02:00)


This segment orients viewers to the topic of mortality and making peace with death. (Sponsors)

"I Can Fix This" (01:39)

Dr. Atul Gawande identifies common anxieties doctors have and talks about cases where he could not solve the problem.

Sara Monopoli (05:15)

Writing helps Dr. Gawande better understand the problems that confuse him. He reflects on a patient diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer in her 9th month of pregnancy. Rich Monopoli and Gawande discuss Sara's diagnosis, the lack of a conversation about dying, and Sara's treatments.

End of Life Care (02:01)

Dr. Gawande reflects on his ability to deal with Sara's circumstances. He will observe colleagues and their patients facing the end of life; most of Dr. Lakshmi Nayak's patients will die.

Bill Brooks (02:43)

Bill is a 46-year-old man with brain cancer. Dr. Nayak originally thought he had 5-10 years to live but his symptoms progressed and she told Bill's wife Mary to be prepared.

Providing Some Hope (02:32)

Dr. Nayak worries that Bill's cancer is growing. She and Dr. Sandra Ruland discuss best and worst case scenarios with Bill and Mary.

End of Life Discussions (02:50)

Observing his colleagues with patients has helped Gawande deal with his father's diagnosis. Dr. Kathy Selvaggi provides Gawande tips for discussing end of life care.

Conversation about Dying (03:49)

Dr. Selvaggi helps doctors have end of life care discussions with their patients. Dr. Aymen Alefiky tells Norma and her family that she has little time left to live.

Norma Understands She is Dying (02:48)

Dr. Selvaggi and Norma discuss Norma staying in the hospital to manage her medications; Norma died 10 days later. Selvaggi stresses the importance of having end of life care discussions sooner rather than later. Dr. Gawande discusses the end of life care discussion he had with his father.

Atmaram Gawande (02:59)

Dr. Gawande's father Atmaram grew up in India, went to medical school, and started a medical practice in Ohio. Gawande discusses his father's cancer treatment plan and the oncologist's approach.

Jeff Shields (02:02)

Jeff underwent three years of cancer treatments; his doctors are optimistic. Shields wants to make decisions about his mortality.

Clear Priorities (04:44)

Dr. Robert Soiffer tells Jeff it may be time for a new treatment plan. Gawande and Soiffer discuss knowing when a patient is coming to the end. Jeff undergoes chemotherapy. Soiffer informs him that his bilirubin count is high; Jeff wants to die at home.

Delivering Bad News to Patients (02:25)

Dr. Nayak states that it is challenging to tell a patient that treatment is not working. She tells Bill that he has a new growth; he asks about an experimental drug.

Accepting Death (04:32)

Bill's health declines and he begins to prepare. Dr. Nayak and Dr. Ruland talk with Bill about hospice care.

Bill's Final Days (02:12)

Dr. Gawande talks with Nayak about how she delivered bad news to Bill. Mary tries to keep Bill as comfortable as possible; he dies two days later.

Jeff's Final Weeks (04:19)

Genie Shields discusses challenges with Jeff's home care. Jeff talks with his grandson about death. He reflects on being surrounded by family and his decline; he dies hours later.

Atmaram's Final Months (01:57)

Dr. Gawande reflects on accepting un-fixable problems and realizing that how a person's life comes to a close matters; questions are important. Gawande's father entered hospice care four months before he died.

Atmaram's Final Wishes (02:02)

Atmaram wanted to be cremated and his ashes spread on the Ganges River. Dr. Gawande reflects on feelings of connection and accepting death.

Credits: Being Mortal (01:58)

Credits: Being Mortal

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Being Mortal

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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? In this film, renowned surgeon and writer Atul Gawande teams with FRONTLINE to bring his personal journey— and the stories of his patients and their families— to life, and challenges us to reexamine how we think about death and dying. Having a conversation around the question "What are your priorities if your time is limited?" can empower patients to live their lives fully. Distributed by PBS Distribution.

Length: 56 minutes

Item#: BVL114684

Copyright date: ©2015

Closed Captioned

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