Ep. 253 Natural Birth, Natural Death: Healing our Broken Medical System with Nathan Riley MD

Learn how honoring the sacredness of birth and death are key to healing the problems in our medical system.

My guest Dr. Nathan Riley specializes in both obstetrics and hospice and palliative care. He’ll share insights from his work at the beginning and the end of life and how the medical system fails to honor the sacredness of these two passages. We will discuss what needs to change in the medical system in order to heal disparities in medicine and honor natural birth and death. Learn more about Nathan’s podcast:


Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • How Nathan was inspired by the work of Drs. Paul Farmer and Albert Schweitzer
  • Death and birth are equally mysterious and both are often taboo subjects in our society
  • Death and birth are both vulnerable times of life and are pathologized and medicalized by the healthcare system
  • Reframing death as the beginning of something new and expanded
  • The problem with doctors’ focus on “the good outcome” rather than on meeting the needs of the patient in the moment
  • What goes wrong during medical training that leads doctors away from the sacredness of medicine
  • Slowing down, listening and empathy are essential steps for healing the medical system and improving medical care
  • Why doctors fear emotional closeness with patients
  • Implicit bias and health disparities in medicine
  • Why we must look within ourselves first if we want to eradicate racism in the systems where we work

Links mentioned in this episode:

  • Books by Victoria Sweet MD: Slow Medicine and God’s Hotel
  • Join the team at Patreon.com/eolu and get access to the EOLU mug“Mind if we talk about death?” (only Patrons can purchase it). PLUS get our new bonuses: the monthly EOL News Update, movie reviews from 2 Doctors and a Movie, and automatic access to A Year of Reading Dangerously!

If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes! Thanks again to all supporters on my page at Patreon.com/eolu! Your contributions make all the difference!

End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 177 Midwife for the Soul: Easing Life’s Final Passage with Felicity Warner

Learn the essential aspects of “soul midwifery” from a true pioneer in the field of end-of-life care.


My guest Felicity Warner has been caring for the dying and teaching others to provide care for over 20 years. She shares with us how she found soul midwifery as her calling and the changes she has observed over the past two decades of her work as she has trained hundreds of people to become soul midwives in their own communities. Learn more at her website:



Get the book here.

Listen here:


This interview includes:

  • How Felicity first became interested in working with dying patients
  • A look back at death and dying 20 years ago and the changes that have taken place over time
  • The greatest challenges we face today in offering quality care to the dying
  • What Felicity means by the term “soul midwife”
  • How to prepare in order to be present with the dying
  • Why listening is the most important skill we can develop in our work
  • Felicity’s newest book: Sacred Oils and what we can learn from it
  • Felicity’s Soul Midwives School and the trainings offered there
  • Where to get Felicity’s books and how to work with her remotely or in person

A good death is an extraordinary, moving and sacred experience. It can also have a healing quality, not only for the person who is involved but their families, friends and the wider community. (Felicity Warner, Gentle Dying)

Links mentioned in this episode:

If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes! Thanks again to all supporters on Patreon.com/eolu, especially Kathleen Rouleau who recently joined the team!