Is there a Death Philosophy which empowers us to live? Very few want to think about it, but some brave folk have thought deeply on this subject. If it doesn’t scare you, read how many in far away countries look at this topic in Dr Achyuthan Eswar’s article below.
What’s wrong with death?
July 22, 2015 By Dr Achyuthan Eswar
Death: we fear it, we don’t even talk about it. When somebody dies, if we were close to them, we are shocked. If we were not, we don’t know what to say to those who were. Is there a disconnect between what death really is, and what we think about it?
As doctors, we are faced with the reality of death far too many times. We are taught in medical school not to attach ourselves to the dying patient who looks at us with hope in his eyes, but what happens in reality is quite different. The death of a patient is many times equally hard on his doctor as it is to his family. At these times, all we can do is make sure the person is comfortable in his or her last days – quality of life, they call it. Somehow, we find ourselves wishing there was more we could do to help. A close friend gifted me a book by Atul Gawande, ‘Being Mortal’, in which he asks if perhaps we have been taught about it all wrong? Or, at many times, not been taught to deal with death and dying at all?
The movie Patch Adams was one of the things that inspired me to become a doctor. In the movie, when Patch is pulled up at a hearing because he was practicing as a doctor without a license, and asked, “What if one of your patients had died?”, he says, “What’s wrong with death, sir? What are we so mortally afraid of? Why can’t we treat death with a certain amount of humanity and dignity and decency, and God forbid, maybe even humour? Death is not the enemy, gentlemen. If we’re going to fight a disease, let’s fight one of the most terrible diseases of all: indifference.” (the relevant part start at 2:14 in the video:)
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