Writing, Palliative Care, and the Pandemic: A Reading and Conversation with Dr. Sunita Puri

 Center for Medical Humanities     May 6 2021 | 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM Zoom

Writing, Palliative Care, and the Pandemic:
A Reading and Conversation with Dr. Sunita Puri

"Let everything happen to you/beauty and terror," wrote the great Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke. In 2020, our world fell victim not only to the terror of a viral pandemic but to profound grief and loss compounded by social isolation. As a palliative medicine physician, Sunita Puri watched her patients die in isolation, their nurses the last to hold their hands. She spoke with grieving families over Zoom, choosing her words carefully to help them to make wrenching decisions on behalf of loved ones who clung to life on a ventilator. As she experienced her own professional distress and personal grief, there were times when solace and connection felt impossible. "Just keep going," Rilke concluded, "for no feeling is final." When the emotions she witnessed and experienced felt final, returning to writing and reading offered a way to keep going, even if forward motion meant just turning one page and reading the next. In this reading and conversation, we will explore the centrality of language in medicine, the interconnectedness between writing and doctoring, and finding a way to live through and even embrace the beauty of terror of being human. Join us for this special event. You will also have the opportunity to receive a free e-book copy of "That Good Night: Life and Medicine in the Eleventh Hour" as supplies dictate. 

Date: Thursday, May 6, 2021
Time: 5 - 6:30 PM Pacific

Click HERE to Register

Dr. Sunita Puri smiling with red lips long black shiny hair long-sleeved black top  The Good Night by Sunita Puri book cover

Dr. Sunita Puri is the Medical Director of the Palliative Medicine Service at Keck Hospital and Norris Cancer Center of the University of Southern California, where she also serves as Chair of the Ethics Committee. Sunita is the author of That Good Night: Life and Medicine in the Eleventh Hour, an acclaimed literary memoir examining her journey to the practice of palliative medicine, and her quest to help patients and families redefine what it means to live and die well in the face of serious illness. Sunita received writing residencies at the MacDowell Colony, UCross Foundation, and Mesa Refuge, and her book has been featured in the Atlantic, People Magazine (Book of the Week), NPR, PBS' Christian Amanpour Show, the Guardian, Forbes, and Spirituality and Health, among other places. The recipient of a Rhodes Scholarship, her writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Slate, and the Journal of the American Medical Association. In 2018, she was awarded the Etz Chaim Tree of Life Award from the USC School of Medicine, awarded annually to a member of the faculty who, in the eyes of the campus community, models and provides humanistic and compassionate care.

That Good Night published by