PBS has announced is will have a national broadcast of a new documentary exploring attitudes toward death and dying that prominently features a Prairie Village surgeon who died of prostate cancer in 2014.
Jeffrey Piehler, MD, generated a national discussion about end of life issues when he published an essay in the New York Times in February 2014 regarding his decision to build his own coffin. Piehler had been diagnosed with cancer in 2002, and retired from practice in 2005 as symptoms from the disease and side-effects from treatment hampered his ability to perform surgery. He passed away in November 2014.
The new documentary, from producer Helen Whitney, is called Into the Night: Portraits of Life and Death, and features interviews with nine people exploring the existential questions people face when they encounter the unavoidable onset of illness, old age and death.
“Yet very few of us are comfortable talking about it, even thinking about it,” Whitney said of the documentary’s subject.
In the film, Piehler talks about how he found comfort in the friendship he developed with Peter Warren, the artist and woodworker who aided him in construction of his coffin.
The national broadcast of the film, which is narrated by Sharon Stone, will be Monday, March 26 at 8 p.m.
The trailer for the film is below: