University News

Western New England University Professor of Law Publishes New Book

Published: May 09, 2022 | Categories: All News, Faculty, Law
Artwork of a tree from the cover of the book.

Western New England University School of Law Professor Barbara A. Reich has recently published Intimations of Mortality: Medical Decision-Making at the End of Life.

The book, published by Cambridge University Press, is an analytically based review and assessment of the failures of end-of-life communication and decision-making in the United States. Intimations of Mortality explores why U.S. physicians, patients, and families struggle to have the conversations necessary to provide seriously ill and dying patients with medical care consistent with their preferences.

"There are a number of different factors influencing complex medical decision-making," says Reich. "These can include physician payment mechanisms, liability fears, physician and patient communication avoidance, death denial, and clinical uncertainty. These factors can impact physician-patient communication and decision-making, leaving patients and families without the tools they need to make informed choices which in turn can negatively impact quality of care at the end of life."

The book evaluates the interconnectedness of the obstacles of communication and provides practical and essential suggestions for better communication and end-of-life decision-making.

Barbara A. Reich has been a member of the Western New England University School of Law faculty since 2005 teaching Bioethics, End-of-Life Law, and other Medical Law subjects. She is the author of numerous articles addressing end-of-life issues, including articles about the Theresa Schiavo case, racial disparities in health care delivery, informed consent and shared decision-making, advance directives, and cognitive challenges to making good medical decisions. Reich received her J.D. from Harvard Law School and her undergraduate degree in English Literature from Union College, summa cum laude.