Here is an excellent post by Janice Lynch Schuster on Disruptive Women in Health Care. The occasion was Steve Jobs' death, but she draws broader lessons.
Here's the one that struck home most to me:
For many years now, I’ve written on this subject with Dr. Joanne Lynn, a geriatrician and hospice physician. In our book, Handbook for Mortals: Guidance for People Facing Serious Illness, we talk about the living with/dying of conundrum. Americans like to talk about “the dying” as if they were a different sort of person, in contrast to the rest of us, whom Joanne characterizes as the “temporarily immortal.” Once someone has been labeled as dying, we expect him or her to go about the business of doing just that: taking to bed, saying farewells, making peace with God, signing up for hospice, giving up daily routines and purpose. We think of the dying as a distinct group, with different interests, and an entirely different role to play in this life.
The fact is, for Boomers like Jobs, we will spend many years dying of something. Nearly 80 million of us are aging together, and along the way, we will accumulate illnesses of old age: heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. Thanks to modern medicine and public health, we will live for a long time with what have become chronic conditions. Where these diseases once killed swiftly and uniformly, they are now chronic conditions with which we live—and from which we die.