One Man’s Quest to Change the Way We Die
When B.J Miller was a sophomore at Princeton he was in an accident that led him to need both his legs and one of his arms amputated. Newly disabled, he realized that the world treated and looked at people with disabilities differently, but he was not going allow that to affect him. He thought of his disability as any other struggle that any other human has. For example he believed his issues were somewhere on the spectrum from a “man on his deathbed to a woman who lost her car keys.” When he returned to Princeton he switched his major to art history and started to analyze his own experience in the same way one would analyze art. This allowed him to gain a new admiration for the new aspects of his body from the stumps of his arms to the carbon fiber that made up his artificial limbs. After getting his undergraduate degree Miller entered medical school where he discovered palliative care, an approach to medicine rooted in similar ideas to his own. Palliative care doctors seek different outcomes for their patients, including comfort, beauty and meaning. Miller is now the executive director of a small hospice in San Francisco called the Zen Hospice Project that’s goal is to “de-pathologize” death. Read the full story of Miller, the Hospice and people he has helped here.