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The Spirit Ambulance: Choreographing the End of Life in Thailand | by Scott Stonington
The Spirit Ambulance: Choreographing the End of Life in Thailand | by Scott Stonington
Scott Stonington
With his unique perspective as both a cultural anthropologist and a physician, Scott
Stonington explores decision-making at the end of life in contemporary Thailand in
his book The Spirit Ambulance. Stonington spent two years in Thailand studying
how families struggle to craft good deaths for their elders in the modern world while
honoring their Buddhist traditions.
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. Ray Yung, M.D., Chief of the Geriatrics Center, will be introducing Dr. Stonington.
Scott Stonington is a medical and cultural anthropologist at the University of Michigan and an internal
medicine physician. He has a Ph.D in Anthropology from UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco, and a MD
from UC San Francisco. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Brigham and Women’s
Hospital, Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Stonington is an Assistant Professor, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in the Department of
Anthropology as well as the International Institute (Core Faculty for Global Environment and Health),
a Hospitalist in the Department of Internal Medicine at VA Medical Center and a Primary Care Physician
at St. Joseph Mercy Neighborhood Family Health Center in Ypsilant
Lecture Type : Other      
Lecture Date : 02/24/2021      
Program Year : 2020-21      
Term : Winter/Spring      
Fee : $10.00