Dealing with dying
- By: Paul Grant
One of the many things that medical school fails to prepare you for is how to deal with death. At some point, every doctor experiences the death of a patient. But when we are fresh faced and newly qualified, death can be difficult to come to terms with.
Appreciating the context in which a death occurs is always important. Not every death is a failure; in fact, the concept of dying well can be of utmost importance. Death is the natural end of things and we cannot turn the tide indefinitely. Often people are ready to die and it should be our job to help smooth that passage.
Many junior doctors will do a rotation in medicine for the elderly and here thoughtfulness and care are required for patients who are often terminally ill, frail, and in a great deal of pain. For such patients, aggressive interventions and the fruitless