Western Wyoming Community College will host a free community screening of the documentary “Being Mortal” on Wednesday, Oct. 26, at 11 a.m. and again at 6 p.m. in Room 1302 on the Rock Springs campus. The film delves into the hopes of patients, and families of patients, who are facing terminal illness, investigates the practice of caring for the dying, and explores the relationships between patients and their doctors.
In February 2015, “Being Mortal” aired nationally on the PBS program “Frontline.” Each free screening will be followed by a guided discussion about how to take concrete steps to identify and communicate wishes about end-of-life goals and preferences.
This program is sponsored by Hospice of Sweetwater County, ThinkWY, and Western. The free screenings are made possible through a grant from The John and Wauna Harman Foundation in partnership with the Hospice Foundation of America.
“Being Mortal” follows a surgeon, Dr. Atul Gawande, as he shares stories from the people and families he encounters. When Gawande’s father gets cancer, the son’s search for answers about how best to care for the dying becomes a personal quest. The film sheds light on how a medical system focused on a cure often leaves out the sensitive conversations that need to happen so that a patient’s true wishes can be known and honored at the end.
“Being Mortal” underscores the importance of planning ahead and talking with family members about end-of-life decisions. Seventy percent of Americans say they would prefer to die at home, but nearly 70 percent die in hospitals and institutions. Ninety percent of Americans know they should have conversations about end-of-life care, yet only 30 percent have done so.