Dr. Haider Warraich’s debut book “Modern Death” examines how we die today — from the cellular level to the very definition of death itself. Dr. Warraich is a cardiology fellow at Duke University Medical Center and in this “Fresh Air” interview with Terry Gross explains that death used to be “sudden, unexpected and relatively swift” but in the modern era, medical technologies have enabled a “dramatic extension” of life which, in turn, has prolonged the dying process.
Describing himself as a physician/scientist/writer who also happens to be Pakistani-Muslim, Dr. Warraich explains why he wrote a book about dying: “I really wanted to find answers to some very, very basic questions, like what are the implications of the sort of life extension that we have achieved? What is the role of religion, not only a patient’s religion but a physician’s religion when it comes to dealing with the end of life? How is social media affecting how people experience the end of life? … So many times I’ve found myself in the room where there are people who were so much more experienced in life than I was, yet knew so little about death and dying. And so I wanted to write a book so that people could go into those really, really difficult places and feel like they’re armed with information, that this isn’t a completely foreign territory for them and that in some way could help them navigate and deal with the sort of difficult situations that lay ahead for the.”