Frontline investigates the complex and often agonizing end-of-life choices that are made by physicians and families.

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Episode credited cast:
Albert Alberti ...
Himself - Patient
Deborah Alberti ...
Herself - Albert's Wife
Jerome Groopman ...
Himself - Professor of Medicine, Harvard University
Celia Grosskreutz ...
Herself - Bone Marrow Transplant Unit
Phyllis Hunte ...
Herself - Norman's Sister and Health Care Proxy
Scott Lorin ...
Himself - Medical Intensive Care Unit
Himself - Narrator
Adriana Malone ...
Herself - Bone Marrow Transplant Unit
Barbara Mann ...
Herself - Medical Intensive Care Unit
Debbie Moloney ...
Herself - John's Wife
John Moloney ...
Himself - Patient
David Muller ...
Himself - Dean of Medical Education, Mount Sinai
Judith Nelson ...
Herself - Medical Intensive Care Unit
Keren Osman ...
Herself - Bone Marrow Transplant Unit
Julia Romero ...
Herself - Robert's Wife


Frontline investigates the complex and often agonizing end-of-life choices that are made by physicians and families.

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Release Date:

23 November 2010 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

People should watch this...but probably won't.
3 October 2011 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This is not the easiest documentary to watch. After all, you see quite a few people who are in the process of dying. However, it's an important show to watch because it's something we all SHOULD think about. It's natural for people to deny death and ignore living wills or thinking about what sort of life they are willing to have should they become very ill--but it also creates burdens for the family, friends and hospitals. In other words, we need to force ourselves to think about and plan for our future in regard to what sort of death we would like--provided, of course, we have a choice in the matter! I appreciated how in this films doctors and nurses freely admitted that they were not gods--and much concerning the prognosis for patients is uncertain. I think too often people expect for hospital staff to have all the answers--and in life and death situations, doctors often CAN'T give us any sort of certainty. I also appreciate how the film says that doctors differ widely on how far is too far to keep a patient alive even when the quality of life appears to be negligible. Plus, now that medical science CAN prolong life, doctors and patients alike need to question if this is for the best.

The show is constructed showing a variety of patients in emergency rooms and long-term treatment. In many cases, you see these folks on multiple admissions. In some, it's just a single admission. While there is a bit of narration, mostly it consists of these video clips and interviews with the hospital staff, patients and their families--as well as interactions between these folks. And, in all these cases, the families are counseled by staff to decide what to do--how aggressively to treat illnesses as well as quality of life--for which there are few easy answers.

It's sad to see sick, wasting people. Some of the scenes are particularly tough. But most of us WILL be in similar situations or have family in these situations--so it's worth seeing in order to open up a dialog concerning what steps you think should be taken in various circumstances. An important film--and a very good one as well. I appreciate how the show did NOT try to tell you what to do in these cases--instead just pushing you to think.

It's a good idea to watch this with your loved ones...and be sure to have some tissues handy.

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