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The Last Collaboration: a weird and Not-very-funny story about a death in a glitzy glassy Hospital that just completed a $64 million modernization program Paperback – June 22, 2012

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About the Author

Martha Deed, Ph.D. is a retired psychologist who is a poet and web artist. Her work has appeared in print and online in numerous journals, video collections, and galleries. She is a patient advocate on Consumer Union's Safe Patient Project. Previous collections have been published by Naissance, Furniture Press, and chapbookpublisher.com. She edited a collection of her daughter Millie Niss's poetry and texts City Bird: Selected Poems (1991-2009) for BlazeVox. Essays related to The Last Collaboration have appeared in Yale Journal for the Humanities in Medicine, The Buffalo News, Insight (the online magazine of the American Society of Professionals in Patient Safety), and Poemeleon.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Friends of Spork (June 22, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 061564595X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615645957
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.6 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,982,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Theresa Wyatt on July 19, 2012
I highly recommend The Last Collaboration by Martha Deed with Millie Niss. Having read this book online previously, I am happy to have and see print publication available, for in my opinion, the full weight of this powerful narrative is more clearly processed through traditional book format. Considering the impact the compilation of data, charts, icons, emails, journal entries, poems and photographs impart, there's no question hard copy illuminates. Go to page 87, just one example, where the poem "Warm Sill" is precisely placed after an email exchange between the author and her daughter, page 86. The well thought out "constructions" of this project are no accident - and you can depend upon them throughout the entire book.
Martha Deed is an enlightened strategist - her story not for the faint of heart. But in between her multi-tasking roles of researcher, writer, patient advocate and psychologist, I find her role as mother to an extremely complicated daughter an extraordinary one. There are many reasons to read this book. One is that very few people will be able to avoid a hospital stay at some point in their life and another is that someone you know and love is likely to be hospitalized as well. Stating the obvious perhaps, but how prepared will you be? Consider The Last Collaboration a resource for you and yours before a crisis hits, well worth the journey.
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By John T. James on July 4, 2013
This book cuts deeply into one of the worst events life can hand you - the loss of a child. I have been there and I understand why Ms. Deed had to tell the story of her daughter's often inept medical care. Millie Niss, a talented artist and well-educated young woman, died at the age of 36 after suffering for years with the consequences of Behcet's Disease and later Cushing Syndrome. These diseases led her into morbid obesity and multiple hospitalizations in New York State before she died of an undiagnosed spinal infection in 2009.
Although the pathway Millie took to death was much more convoluted than the one my 19-year old son took in 2002, the milestones are familiar to me. There is sudden bad news, there is fear - fear that the parent did not do all things the parent could - fear of speaking up to "authority." There is arrogance in some providers, illegible records, cover ups, blaming the patient and, finally, learning things you wish you never found out. There is looking back to the good days when death was not on the doorstep of your child and, at the end, profound grief when the "miracle" of death forever tears your heart. The experience Ms. Deed gives the reader is emotional and it is poetry.

Ms. Deed weaves together a tapestry of words - some by her, some by Millie, and some by those who would heal Millie. This is medical misadventure laced with anguished prose and cries for help. The collaboration between mother and daughter is deeply personal and worth experiencing for yourself. You might ask, "Why is that experience so important to me since I do not plan to lose a child to poor-quality medical care?"
What you must understand is that many of us, perhaps most of us, will experience a journey not unlike the one Millie took before death gave her peace.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael M. Bennett on November 20, 2012
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This books reveals the loving connection between a mother and daughter through a uniquely compiled journal that chronicles the tragic and unnecessary death of Millie Niss. Both Marth Deed and her daughter, Millie, reach out to readers in pain, and often times despair, over the unconscionable neglect in hospitals that Millie suffered and that ultimately led to her untimely passing.

Interlaced with poetry, this book uniquely reveals the common bond mother and daughter shared through their profound literary visions of life.

Martha's efforts to discover and untangle the complex web of documentation that more often than not served the interest of negligent caregivers rather than the patient, revealingly tells the story of a medical system fraught with low standards, disinterested healthcare workers, and people who demonstrate no compunction at covering up their mistakes, and worse.

But The Last Collaboration is not just another woeful tale of a largely broken healthcare system, it is also a celebration of life and the profound and sacred value of each individual.

Through Martha's painstaking efforts, mother and daughter have created a legacy that is painful, poignant, and important. It is a book that should be required reading in medical schools.

Michael Bennett
President
The Coalition For Patients' Rights
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Hospital care is a subject that doesn't get enough attention. I know the authors -- mother Martha Deed and daughter Millie Niss, who died while in the hospital after a long painful illness.
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The Last Collaboration: a weird and Not-very-funny story about a death in a glitzy glassy Hospital that just completed a $64 million modernization program
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