There’s an Elephant in the Room:Issues in Death and Dying

Death is the ugly relative we don’t talk about. It’s hidden from our thoughts as if it doesn’t exist. Worse, we carry our perceptive blinders into our clinical practice. Entering a patient’s room, we tell them how good they’re looking, despite sunken cheeks and a sallow complexion. We may even make the mistake of asking how they feel. “Lousily,” they answer incredulously. “I’m dying you know!” We stare at them and mutter something later regretted, such as, “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.”