What Dying People Want by Dr. David Kuhl

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256 pages hardcover
Finished books available


US: Public Affairs, Spring 2002
Canada: Doubleday, Fall 2002
Japan: Igaku Hyoron Sha
Korea: Bada
Portugal: Miosotis


David Kuhl (Photo: Jean McIntyre)
(Photo: Jean McIntyre)

Dr. Kuhl began his career in palliative carein 1989, providing medical care for people with cancer in his practice. He was invited to develop a palliative care program for St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. His team at St. Paul’s has attended thousands of people at the end of life. What Dying People Want was written based on research funded by the Soros Foundation Project on Death in America. He is a frequent speaker on palliative care all over North America. He lives in Vancouver, B.C., with his family.

What Dying People Want
Practical Wisdom for the End of Life

by Dr. David Kuhl


  • #8 on the bestseller list at Wellnessbooks.com
  • #7 on the Book Manager Self-Help Bestseller list

What Dying People Want coverFacing death results in more fear and anxiety than any other experience known to humankind. Western medicine has accomplished a great deal in addressing physical pain and controlling symptoms for people with a terminal illness, but much slower progress has been made in understanding and alleviating psychological and spiritual distress. In What Dying People Want, Dr. David Kuhl begins to bridge that gap.

He presents ways of addressing the pain, of finding new life in the process of dying and of understanding the inner reality that characterizes the experience of living with a terminal illness. He acknowledges the despair and recognizes the desire for hope and meaning. Dr. Kuhl also presents the provocative idea that insensitive communication by doctors creates more suffering for patients than either the illness or the knowledge of impending death.


“An all-encompassing guide for people with a terminal illness and those who know someone who is dying.”  — THE NEW YORK TIMES

What Dying People Want is a valuable contribution-a frank, informed, and compassionate discussion of the daunting issues around this...subject.”  — QUILL & QUIRE

“[T]his book is such a wonderful contribution to human knowledge and understanding...”  — TORONTO STAR

“A useful guide to exercising compassion and care during those terrible times, which-properly experienced-have so much to teach us about the meaning and value of our own lives. The life that you see lost may help you regain your own.”  — THE GLOBE AND MAIL

“When dying people speak, they long to be heard-often for the first time in their lives. Few doctors know how to listen like David Kuhl. In What Dying People Want he describes how dying patients taught him the art of listening, and he transmits that knowledge to the reader with clarity, insight, and compassion. 'As much as the diagnosis of terminal illness marks the end, it also serves as a beginning,' he points out. It is a beginning not only for the human being embarking on life's final journey, but also for his or her caregivers, be they medical workers or loved ones. Dr. Kuhl's book will be a source of wisdom and practical help to everyone seeking to understand the emotional needs and physical concerns of dying people, an essential guide to accompany all those who must confront terminal disease, their own or someone else's.”  — GABOR MATÉ, M.D., author of Scattered Minds

“In a perfect world, every dying patient would have a physician like Dr. David Kuhl at their bedside. Kuhl has given voice to the needs of dying patients with deeply felt humanity and great clinical insight.... With a brilliant blend of scholarship, literary allusion and clinical common sense, Kuhl outlines a practical approach to end-of-life care that should be the model for humane care and reform of clinical practice. Kuhl 's What Dying People Want is a worthy successor to Sherwin Nuland 's How We Die.”  — JOSEPH J. FINNS, M.D., F.A.C.P., Chief, Division of Medical Ethics, New York–Weill Cornell Medical Centre



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