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Frontline: Facing Death (2010)

Narrated by Will Lyman , Miri Navasky , Karen O'Connor  |  NR |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Narrated by Will Lyman
  • Directors: Miri Navasky, Karen O'Connor
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: February 8, 2011
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0047H7Q3G
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #198,678 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

How far would you go to sustain the life of someone you love, or your own? When the moment comes, and you re confronted with the prospect of pulling the plug, do you know how you ll respond? Unfounded rumors of federal death panels grabbed headlines last summer, but the real decisions of how we die the questions that most of us prefer to put off are being made quietly behind closed doors, increasingly on the floors of America s intensive care units. In this film, FRONTLINE gains access to the ICU of one of New York s biggest hospitals to examine the complicated reality of today s modern, medicalized death. Here, we find doctors and nurses struggling to guide families through the maze of end-of-life choices they now confront: whether to pull feeding and breathing tubes, when to perform expensive surgeries and therapies or to call for hospice. The film also offers an unusually intimate portrait of patients facing the prospect of dying in ways that they might never have wanted or imagined.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
The End-of-Life/ICU doctors Frontline followed and interviewed in this piece are amazing. Not only are they caring and compassionate, they manage to interview on camera about gut-wrenching decisions that are needing to be made, while still having concern in their voice and not turn into a robot that's not trying to show emotion. I only hope I get doctors like them when I'm in this position.

This show brings up the choices people are faced with when treatment to heal someone is no longer working. They are at the point where they will never get better, and will eventually die. They describe how with our current technology, we can pretty much keep every part of a dying person alive with machines, for years. But then it questions if this is the right thing to do.

The stories are all real lives of people who are dying, and the slower pace of this show works well for it. This gives you time to learn about these individuals, meet their families, understand their pain and watch them as they cling to every last hope for life. No ones story of death should be rushed. These are stories that we will ALL some day find ourselves in. We will either be the one dying, or the family member at the end of the bed.

Stories of grandmothers, fathers, brothers, mothers and husbands are all filmed. You feel as though you're right there in the room with the families, clinging to hope that this one last effort will work. You're heartbroken and crushed with tears in your eyes when you see the results of all their fighting.

They show how there are some treatments that actually kill 30% of all the patients. It asks whether living a year in horrible pain and in constant treatment is better than 4 months of good health, painless life and dying sooner. It shows how in the end, the results are all the same...that no one wants to die.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars face it now or later November 17, 2012
By Barbara
Verified Purchase
This is a troubling video. However, everyone should view it BEFORE they are faced with end-of-life decisions for themselves or loved ones. The documentary confronts us with issues surrounding the extraordinary means which modern medicine can and frequently does use to extend lives of terminally ill, dying patients. These issues would ideally be discussed with loved ones and our personal desires related to them so that our dying wishes may be respected. (See for info.) Moral, ethical, spiritual and economic, as well as medical questions may be elicited by viewing this video. I know that it is preferable to view this documentary than to have one's first encounter with end-of-life issues in real life. It is my personal opinion that spending the end days of one's life in a hospital hooked up to any number of devices is undignified, uncomfortable and undesirable. I hope that our nation, the medical profession in particular, begins to understand, accept and teach us all that death is a part of life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful January 17, 2013
Verified Purchase
The interviews are enlightening, even if sometimes depressing. I will watch it a few times; this is one that cannot be absorbed in one sitting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Important Information! April 30, 2014
This DVD provides very important and thought provoking information about end of life decisions. I watched it and can't stop thinking about it. Recommended for anyone with a very ill family member.
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