You Can Stop Humming Now

Length: 6 hrs and 6 mins
4 out of 5 stars (61 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A critical care doctor's breathtaking stories about what it means to be saved by modern medicine

Modern medicine is a world that glimmers with new technology and cutting-edge research. To the public eye, medical stories often begin with sirens and flashing lights and culminate in survival or death. But these are only the most visible narratives. As a critical care doctor treating people at their sickest, Daniela Lamas is fascinated by a different story: what comes after for those whose lives are extended by days, months, or years as a result of our treatments and technologies?

In You Can Stop Humming Now, Lamas explores the complex answers to this question through intimate accounts of patients and their families. A grandfather whose failing heart has been replaced by a battery-operated pump; a salesman who found himself a kidney donor on social media; a college student who survived a near-fatal overdose and returned home, alive but not the same; and a young woman navigating an adulthood she never thought she'd live to see - these moving narratives paint a detailed picture of the fragile border between sickness and health.

Riveting, gorgeously told, and deeply personal, You Can Stop Humming Now is a compassionate, uncompromising look at the choices and realities that many of us, and our families, may one day face.

©2018 Daniela Lamas (P)2018 Little, Brown & Company

Critic Reviews

"Daniela Lamas writes with grace and compassion about her patients who survive, but do not quite escape, critical illness. Her wonderful book is an essential addition to the debate over how hard medicine should push to keep people alive. I highly recommend it for doctors, patients, or anyone interested in the knotty issues affecting medicine today." (Sandeep Jauhar, author of Intern and Doctored)

"Daniela Lamas is the real deal. She combines a big heart, powerful intellect, and passionate dedication to her patients with the gifted writer's ability to tell a compelling story. She sees the fundamental problems inherent in a health care system that has not fully considered the ethical implications of all that is now possible with high-tech medical care. Through her personal crusade to understand the impact of medical treatment on her patients' lives, she challenges the notion that a longer life is necessarily a better life. I couldn't put it down." (Richard Besser, MD, President and CEO, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation) 

"Daniela Lamas is the real thing. Her voice is wry, compassionate, sometimes doctorly, and sometimes not. And she's written a gripping, soaring, inspiring book about the sickest people on the planet. It's an important story too -- about not only death, but also survival. Read it. You'll see things you've never seen. You'll be moved. And you'll discover a voice you want to hear more from." (Atul Gawande, author of the international best seller Being Mortal)
 

"This thoughtful, reflective, and beautifully rendered book examines the costs of modern medicine. Readers who enjoy books by Oliver Sacks and Atul Gawande, or Paul Kalanithi's When Breath Becomes Air will find this volume moving and provocative." (Library Journal)
 

"Heart-rending and inspiring" (Kirkus)

"This is a rare and wonderful book, filled with insight, warmth, and a deep humanity that hits us with real emotion rather than sentimentality. If Daniela Lamas is as good a doctor as she is a writer, her patients are very lucky indeed." (Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter series)

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Enlighthening

This book brings up questions and uncertainties that come up every single day in a physicians’ life. How paths are crossed and the significance of what it takes to make a difference is upfront from the moment interactions occur between a patient and family with our health care system. A must read for all health care providers, any place, now more than ever.

2 people found this helpful

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must read for patients and families!

Invaluable insight to the very human problems that advances in medicine have created. Thank you Daniela!

2 people found this helpful

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“Reality”

This book was somewhat difficult for me to read. It is well written but really does show the reality of people’s lives, living in what the author calls purgatory at times. The fact that there are many people living there lives do to medical advances, in such a state between life and death. Every life has value and a purpose, and it’s difficult to read about their life after they have received a transplant. Also to know the reality of the caregivers life watching their love one go through such struggles just to breath and live. The will to live is so strong and you can see how strong it is through the authors eyes. It’s a good book but hard to read.

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good book book

i enjoyed this book, however, i thought it would be more about the ethics of long term care of those patients who are very ill. it was still interesting, but i'd like to see more about the long term effects of being in the ICU as related to ethics. i feel that providers don't give patients a clear view of the long term effects of certain actions. the author touched on it briefly, but i'd like to see ut more fully developed.

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a little dry, clinical for my taste

The byline is a bit overstated- not much about death or the "in between"- more about hospital patient cases reflected on by this clinician- maybe it's because as a health care professional, I knew quite a bit about how philosophies are changing in regard to hospital clinicians approaches to what is considered a positive outcome, but I just found her approach dry and clinical- no real insights for me...

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Explores critical illness with multiple patients

I appreciated hearing stories of critically ill patients and their choices and decisions about living in a state of prolonged hospitalization or recurring hospitalizations. I gained more perspective on the complexity of life in ICU and acute care floors. The doctor contemplated her patient's lives and their futures. It caused me to think more deeply on the subject of what I might face if was very ill or living with a serious, perhaps terminal diagnosis.
I felt something was missing though. I would have liked more discussion about how our health care system might provide a look at not doing so much to extend life. Western medicine tends to aim to prolong life and I would like to see more thought about if that is really in one's best interest.
Would rather have had the author read the whole thing.

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great book. amazing insights

loved it! couldn't put it down. it was great to get the whole story from an insider.

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Not sure what to take away from this

Book is basically a series of stories of patients with long-term critical illnesses. None all that interesting or insightful for someone hoping to learn something from this book or at least enjoy the stories. Perhaps best for someone who is ill looking to understand they are not alone.

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Very disappointing.

I love this type of book but this one was so boring that I couldn't finish.