Stories from the EDGE OF LIFE


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“How well do I know myself?” When was the last time this question crossed your mind? As we live our lives, we fall into routines that often take us away from ourselves. We become distant from who we are. We often think we are immortal until we face events that present us with a reality-check. The moments that break this cycle make us pause and contemplate. Such moments of uncertainty are faced by patients and their families. It is in these moments, on the edge of life and death, when some of the most important insights about life, ourselves and others are realized with utmost clarity. Regardless of your age, the stories in this book will take you through a journey of such events experienced at patients’ bedsides and prompt you to question yourself. There will be a tug of war between your mind and your heart with space provided for you to journal. What would you do in such situations? Are you prepared to face them? Your answers will take you on a roller coaster ride into a world that will help you grow closer to the person you think you are closest to – yourself.

I enjoyed the stories in this book. Each one is poignant and relatable. It made me realize that every person has hopes, dreams, pains, and a story to tell. – Steven Norris, MD

About the author

Parag Bharadwaj, a physician, was born in India, and grew up in different countries and was exposed to people from a variety of cultures. He went to medical school in India and pursued further training in the United States. After his training in internal medicine, he chose an offbeat path to treat underserved patient populations. He sub-specialized in geriatrics at UCLA and hospice and palliative medicine at San Diego Hospice. During his training, he won the national young investigator award in his field and was presented with an outstanding teacher award by medical students. He proceeded to work at a nationally-renowned hospital in Los Angeles, where he was exposed to the many disparities of our society – from the Hollywood glitz to the marginalized homeless. Shortly thereafter, he led one of the busiest academic programs in the country while offering innovative measures to ensure comfort for patients not only when they were dying, but also when they were pursuing cutting-edge curative medical interventions, such as heart and bone marrow transplants. He has since led the delivery of palliative care through unique initiatives in integrated healthcare systems. His passion has been to push palliative care upstream so patients can access it earlier during their illness. In addition, he has occupied leadership positions in national and international organizations and initiatives and has received recognitions for the same. He founded a nonprofit, Palliative Care Network, that has served millions of lives worldwide. Humbled by the various successes and achievements early in his career, over time his focus has gravitated towards deriving meaning from the challenges he has witnessed patients and their loved ones face. He describes himself as the greatest student of life. To date, he continues to serve patients, ever inspired by them and their families. He considers them his greatest teachers. The ability of the human spirit to face adversities head-on inspired him to write this book.

At a young age, I became the designated healthcare decision maker for my spouse. My choices in this trying time would have life changing consequences for us. Each story in this book shares the dilemma that patients and decision makers confront when faced with decisions in life threatening situations. The stories depict the power of positivity, maturity during trying times, and intuitive inspiration from struggles. As you read each encounter, you wonder about the personal decisions you would have made in each situation. -Ravneet Gill

Proceeds from the sale of this book will go to support the alleviation of suffering of patients worldwide by funding Palliative Care Network projects. Thank you for your support!

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“I did not know patients with cancer can live a pain free life and die without suffering”. – Oncology Nurse, India.