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How We Die

Seminar Center for Global Humanities Lecture/Seminar Series

Sherwin Nuland

Sherwin Nuland, M.D.

Retired Clinical Professor of Surgery, Yale School of Medicine

Death in the late 20th and early 21 centuries has been made a medical issue. It occurs more often than not in an atmosphere of ongoing attempts at treatment, neglecting overwhelming evidence of futility that should be evident to patient, families and especially medical attendants. Unwilling for a number of reasons to face reality, physicians carry our entire culture along in their conviction that determination and science can achieve miracles. The result has been a marked increase in end-of-life suffering, disappointment, and cost. That cost has been not only in dollars, but in the spiritual and family considerations that should be part of the end of a life. These matters will be discussed, as will proposals for a solution.


Until retirement in 2009, Sherwin B. Nuland, M.D., FACS was clinical professor of surgery at the Yale School of Medicine. He continues to teach bioethics and medical history at the medical school and in Yale College. His book How We Die, won the National Book Award, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and remained on the New York Times Bestseller List for 34 weeks.

Assigned Reading

Sherwin B. Nuland, M.D., How We Die: Reflections on Life’s Final Chapter (Vintage Books, 1995)


A reception will be held at 5 pm at the UNE Art Gallery


Center for Global Humanities


(207) 221-4335

Sherwin Nuland event poster
6:00 PM
WCHP Lecture Hall

Portland Campus

Free and open to the public