Gillick, Muriel R. 1951-

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GILLICK, Muriel R. 1951-
(Muriel Ruth Gillick)

PERSONAL:

Born May 14, 1951, in New York, NY; daughter of Peter H. and Ilse Garfunkel; married Laurence S. Gillick, June 18, 1972; children: Daniel, Jeremy, Jonathan. Education: Swarthmore College, B.A., 1972; attended Columbia University, 1973; Harvard Medical School, M.D., 1978.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention, Harvard Medical School, 6th Fl., 133 Brookline Ave., Boston, MA 02215. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER:

Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, fellow, 1979-80, assistant in medicine, 1980-81; Bunker Hill Health Center and Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, staff physician, 1982-87; Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, MA, instructor in medicine, 1982-93, senior fellow, 1989-91, assistant professor, 1993-99, associate professor of ambulatory care and prevention, 1999—; Mount Auburn Hospital, Cambridge, staff physician, 1987-92; Hebrew Rehabilitative Center for Aged, Boston, staff physician, 1992-2003, physician-in-chief, 2000-03. Member of ethics committees for Mount Auburn Hospital, 1988-92, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, 2004—, and American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Care, 2005—; Hebrew Rehabilitative Center for Aged, member of numerous committees including infection control, ethics, and medical care, 1992-2003.

MEMBER:

American Geriatrics Society, American College of Physicians, American Medical Directors Association, American Society of Bioethics and Humanities, American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Phi Beta Kappa.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Will Solimene Award for Excellence in Medical Writing, 1995; Best Contributor Award, Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 2002.

WRITINGS:

Choosing Medical Care in Old Age: What Kind, How Much, When to Stop, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1994.

Tangled Minds: Understanding Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias, Dutton (New York, NY), 1998.

Lifelines: Living Longer, Growing Frail, Taking Heart, W.W. Norton (New York, NY), 2001.

The Denial of Aging: Perpetual Youth, Eternal Life, and Other Dangerous Fantasies, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 2006.

Contributor to periodicals such as Blood, Minerva, Ethics in Social Science and Medicine, Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, New England Journal of Medicine, Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation, Annals of Internal Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Directors Society, Journal of Palliative Medicine, and Journal of Medical Ethics.

SIDELIGHTS:

As a physician specializing in geriatrics and palliative medicine, Muriel R. Gillick has provided care for elderly patients since the late 1970s, in addition to teaching future doctors about geriatric care as a professor. Her books are designed to help aging patients, their families, and health care workers in dealing with seniors' health issues. She combines her extensive professional experience with the personal experiences of her patients and those of her own family members in her titles.

Gillick's first book, Choosing Medical Care in Old Age: What Kind, How Much, When to Stop, is geared toward older patients and their families as they face the increasingly complicated health care options available to them. Gillick incorporates stories from many of her own case files, discussing how a patient's wishes can be combined with his or her current health status to arrive at the most appropriate health care plan. In a British Medical Journal article, M. John Bendall wrote: "This readable book provides a valuable insight into the world of elderly people and should foster the debate about appropriate and compassionate care for them."

Tangled Minds: Understanding Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias combines facts about these often misunderstood conditions with the real-life experiences of an older woman and her family as she is diagnosed with Alzheimer's and faces progressively deteriorating symptoms. Aida Marissa Smith, a contributor to Library Journal, called the book "a compelling narrative with factual information."

In Lifelines: Living Longer, Growing Frail, Taking Heart, Gillick shares the stories of four patients facing chronic illnesses late in life, detailing the emotional and physical toll that their increasing frailty causes them and their families. Gillick proposes that caregivers and health care workers be realistic when selecting care plans, avoiding unnecessary tests and procedures that do little to prolong life, instead focusing on improving quality of life and productivity. A Publishers Weekly reviewer commented that the book "combines professional experience, empathy and common sense to show possible ways that the elderly and their families can deal more effectively with the years of decline before death."

Gillick further explores the subject of end-of-life care in The Denial of Aging: Perpetual Youth, Eternal Life, and Other Dangerous Fantasies. As evidenced by the billions of dollars spent by Americans each year oncosmetic surgery, vitamins, and fad diets, the modern trend seems to be denying that aging is happening at all. Gillick advocates that quality of life for older persons will be much improved if they instead focus on preventing disabilities and remaining physically and mentally active. In an interview with Newsweek contributor Karen Springen, Gillick commented: "If we want to really appreciate old age, that doesn't mean pretending that it doesn't exist, it doesn't mean denying it, it doesn't mean trying to obliterate it. It's certainly reasonable to try to stay as vigorous as you can, and I'll put in a plug for exercise, but we can't prevent everything. We've got to figure out better places to live, better ways to become engaged with the world, better ways to get health care that is appropriate for people who are aging."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

British Medical Journal, January 21, 1995, M. John Bendall, review of Choosing Medical Care in Old Age: What Kind, How Much, When to Stop.

Library Journal, April 15, 1998, Aida Marissa, Smith, review of Tangled Minds: Understanding Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias, p. 107.

Publishers Weekly, September 18, 2000, review of Lifelines: Living Longer, Growing Frail, Taking Heart, p. 93.

ONLINE

Muriel Gillick Home Page,http://www.drmurielgillick.com (September 18, 2006).

Newsweek Online,http://www.newsweek.com/ (April 4, 2006), Karen Springen, "The Art of Aging Gratefully," interview with Gillick.*