To Die Well

A Catholic Neurosurgeon’s Guide to the End of Life



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Product Details

Product Code:
0.75 (in)
Size (HxW):
8 x 5.31 (in)
Publication date:
October 02, 2023
9.76 oz
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Product Overview

Dr. Stephen Doran draws from his vast experience as a neurosurgeon, a bioethicist, and a permanent deacon to present the Catholic perspective on the art of dying well. The spiritual and moral issues related to death and the process of dying can be challenging and complicated. To Die Well provides a detailed yet readily understandable guide to these topics.

Each chapter begins with a story from Dr. Doran's personal or professional life that not only provides context for the topic at hand but also gently draws the reader toward the personal realities of dying. The first part focuses on the moral issues that surround death and dying, including end-of-life medical decisions. The second part is devoted to the Catholic spiritual understanding of dying and the rites that accompany the death of a Catholic.

To Die Well will help readers contemplate, pray about, and prepare for the end of their earthly lives.

Editorial Reviews

"To die well is an art. In our time, it is also necessarily a science with moral and religious dimensions. Dr. Stephen Doran has provided both individuals and families with an invaluable guide for our death-denying age."
— Robert Royal, Author, A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century

"This book about facing death well is an enormous resource for everyone working in Catholic hospitals, clinics, hospices, and academic healthcare programs."
— Kevin FitzGerald, S.J., Ph.D., Chair, Department of Medical Humanities, Creighton University 

"An engaging review of what it means to die well. All who accompany the dying will be inspired to focus on what is ultimately a life-giving experience in God's design, as those we support in dying well teach us how to live well."
— Most Rev. George Lucas, Archbishop of Omaha, Nebraska

"This book is for everyone since each of us will die. Dr. Doran deftly sets his rich medical experience within a personal and Catholic perspective."
— Donald DeMarco, Ph.D., Author, The Heart of Virtue and Architects of the Culture of Death

"Going beyond other bioethics texts, To Die Well illuminates for readers the spiritual-care resources of the Church's ars moriendi tradition. It provides essential guidance for our own transitions from death into new life."
— Jason T. Eberl, Ph.D., Professor of Health Care Ethics and Philosophy, St. Louis University

"Dr. Doran demonstrates that the Catholic way of life and death brings about a degree of human flourishing and fulfillment unmatched by various new age cults or the purely secular and materialistic mainstream. To die well, one must live well."
— Al Kresta, President and CEO Ave Maria Communications; Host, Kresta in the Afternoon

"Dr. Doran gently but firmly helps us touch an area we really would rather not talk about: the inevitability of death and dying. How we face it, with Christ or without him, makes all the difference."
— Kris McGregor, Founder, Discerning Hearts; Host, "Inside the Pages"

"Dr. Doran offers a perspective that few others can provide. An indispensable and comprehensive guide."
— Joseph Vukov, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Philosophy, Loyola University

"It is a rare thing indeed when Catholic moral and spiritual concerns are combined with biological and clinical expertise. That happens quite dramatically in Dr. Doran's book, on a topic that is as relevant as could possibly be."
— Charles Camosy, Professor, Creighton University School of Medicine

"Wise, thorough, careful, and sound. This timely book is essential for medical professionals, priests, patients, lawyers, and families. Highly recommended."
— Fr. Robert McTeigue, S.J., Author, Christendom Lost and Found; Host, The Catholic Current

"A valuable and easy-to-read reflection upon the questions that arise when we are faced with death. Ably sets forth Catholic moral teaching and offers guidance on the care for our souls as we prepare to meet our Maker."
— Fr. Gerald Murray, Pastor, Church of the Holy Family, New York; Member, EWTN's "Papal Posse"


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  • 5
    Living well to die well is gain

    Posted by Michael Merck on Feb 3rd 2024

    A beautiful work, for sure. The author's sharing of human experiences in the form of engaging anecdotes helps to draw the reader in and to invite one to internalize certain principles and teachings believed to be revealed by God for one's own benefit and for the benefit of others, those proposed by the Church to have real world implications for that human moment of transition called "death". The content is organized so well around those stories, making the cold and the clinical more warm and accessible, conveying those aspects of human living that are truly within one's human capacity to control, those modifiable in one's own personal exercise of human freedom, those possessing the power to meaningfully elevate the moment of transition that is the human experience of death and dying. In the face of the inevitable, this author has made such an important contribution for all to consider, precisely because of the hope and the promise that is open to all. “For to me life is Christ, and death is gain.” (St. Paul, Philippians 1:21) Michael P. Merck

  • 5
    To Die Well

    Posted by Jim Olson on Jan 13th 2024

    A vey helpful guide to end of life preparation in dealing with the physical, emotional, psychological , and most importantly spiritual dimensions of death. The latter is emphasized as it is so easily overlooked in the preoccupation to relieve physical pain and distress. Dr. Doran has had to counsel many patients with these issues and shares his insights and experiences in helping them.