of protracted death is its fascination with the deterioration of the body, especially in the alien context of the hospital. No doubt, in part, because most of our writers are agnostic, if not atheist, the focus is on the difficult, lab-filled, needle-infused process of dying. As Hitchens puts it, ours is a time in which a person can "avail himself of a historically unprecedented level of care, while at the same time being exposed to a level of suffering that previous generations might not have been able to afford." Our deathbeds aren't spiritual; they're chart-full.
from Meghan O'Rourke: The New York Times: Deadlines