Grave Words

Learning to talk with patients about resuscitation and other end-of-life care decisions is a challenge for many physicians and other healthcare providers. It is something still rarely taught in medical schools, yet it has become an increasingly important, perhaps even essential, aspect of good medical practice.

Produced by a physician, Grave Words takes a unique approach to this topic by blending humor, upbeat music, and insightful interviews to confront head-on the issues that arise in such end-of-life discussions. Nationally recognized experts offer their counsel in dealing with these issues and a reenacted "ideal conversation" between a physician and a terminally ill patient provides a model for doctors in carrying out these conversations in their own practices. With its balance of humor and reflection, Grave Words is at once entertaining, educational, and thought-provoking.


"Doctors and patients, when they talked about resuscitation, seemed to agree that, if the patient's quality of life were poor, the patient wouldn't be resuscitated, but they never talked about what the patient meant by poor quality of life."
- Bernard Lo, MD
Director, Medical Ethics
University of California at San Francisco


  • 1st Place, American Medical Association International Health and Medical Film Festival (1996)
  • Gold Medal, Regional Cinema in Industry Competition (1996)
  • Silver Medal, International Cinema in Industry Competition (1997)
  • Bronze Medal, National Educational Medical Network Festival (1997)
  • 2nd Place, Association for Death Education Counseling (1997)