New podcast: Death 101 — Jessica Zitter talks about the realities of dying

Jessica Zitter (left) and Amy Tobin at the 2017 Uncharted Festival of Ideas. Photo: Pete Rosos

Jessica Zitter describes herself as an “accidental evangelist.” As a doctor, she set out to save lives, not to focus on death. But her work has led her being committed to changing the current paradigm of end-of-life medical decision-making.

In October 2017, Zitter, an ICU and palliative care physician at Highland Hospital in Oakland, sat down with Amy Tobin, CEO of the Jewish Community Center of the East Bay, at the Uncharted Berkeley Festival of Ideas in Berkeley. Uncharted is a production of Berkeleyside.

The pair talked about why we have to address the “End-of-Life Conveyor Belt” where the dying are intubated, catheterized, and die attached to machines, often without even knowing they are dying. Zitter also offered tips on how to have difficult, but necessary, conversations about death with our children.

Berkeleyside’s 27th episode of the Uncharted Berkeley podcast has just been released and it features that conversation. Each episode of the podcast is one of the conversations recorded at the Uncharted Berkeley Festival of Ideas which takes place every year in Berkeley, and is produced by Berkeleyside.


Berkeleyside will be releasing more conversations from the 2017 festival as podcasts over the coming weeks. Subscribe to the Uncharted Berkeley podcast, on iTunes or wherever you find your podcasts.