The Spirit Ambulance: Choreographing the End of Life in Thailand (University of California Press, 2020) is a journey into decision-making at the end of life in Thailand, where families attempt to craft good deaths for their elders in the face of clashing ethical frameworks, from a rapidly developing universal medical system, to national and global human-rights politics, to contemporary movements in Buddhist metaphysics. Scott Stonington’s gripping ethnography documents how Thai families attempt to pay back a “debt of life” to their elders through intensive medical care, followed by a medically assisted rush from the hospital to home to ensure a spiritually advantageous last breath. The result is a powerful exploration of the nature of death and the complexities arising from the globalization of biomedical expertise and ethics around the world.
Scott Stonington, MD, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Anthropology, International Studies, and Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan.
Armanc Yildiz is a doctoral candidate in Social Anthropology with a secondary field in Studies in Women, Gender and Sexuality at Harvard University. He is also the founder of Academics Write, where he supports scholars in their writing projects as a writing coach and developmental editor.
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