Tonight, PBS’ Frontline series (10 pm. EST) will feature Dr. Atul Gawande and explore the themes discussed in his bestselling book Being Mortal.

We hope you will share your voice with Transcend’s in this vital national discussion on Being Mortal, or perhaps more to the point, on being alive all the way to the end. Because honestly, I find the title of the book a bit ironic.

In truth, the essence of the discussion isn’t as much about how we die as it is about how we live until we die. Specifically, are patients given the proper opportunity to know all of their end-of-life options and make informed choices so they may live life as fully as possible?

Dr. Gawande will share some of his insights gleaned from hundreds of interviews and his own father’s terminal illness. Among his fundamental findings are that too many in the medical profession do a poor job of discussing with patients how they define their quality of life – what are the reasons they want to be alive.

If continued aggressive treatment brings diminishing returns – increased suffering with decreasing (or no) expectation of recovery – what are the patients’ priorities? Shouldn’t doctors, and family members, have full knowledge of their wishes and abide by them?

This program speaks to the heart and soul of the hospice philosophy of personal choice, to have the dignity of controlling one’s life choices, particularly in its final chapter.