Discussion Question # 1 W4

How often do you engage with or witness death in your work? How has this experience or the lack of it shaped your view of death? Has it gotten easier or harder for you to accept the fact of death? As you explain, include your clinical specialty.


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As a medical professor, I routinely engage with the topic of death in my work. My clinical specialty is gynecology and obstetrics, which involves managing diverse health conditions related to reproduction and childbirth. While witnessing death is not a common occurrence in my line of work, it does happen occasionally, particularly in high-risk pregnancies or maternal health complications.

In my experience, death is not something that healthcare professionals ever fully get used to handling. It can be challenging to witness a patient’s decline and eventual passing, particularly if we have built a rapport with them and their family members during their treatment. However, as medical professionals, we are trained to maintain a degree of emotional distance to perform our duties objectively, and the act of losing a patient is viewed as an inevitable part of the healthcare profession.

My experience with death has helped me develop a greater appreciation for the fragility of life and reinforced the importance of treating every patient with the utmost care and attention. It has also helped me to be more empathetic towards patients and their loved ones who are dealing with a devastating loss. I have found that being transparent and communicative with patients and families helps them to come to terms with what is happening, which can be a great comfort to them.

Regarding my view of death itself, I believe that it is a natural part of the cycle of life and that it holds a certain amount of inherent dignity. I strive to approach every patient’s passing with patience, respect, and sensitivity. Ultimately, what gives meaning to our work as healthcare professionals is our ability to provide comfort, alleviate suffering, and ease the pain of those left behind when we lose a patient.

In conclusion, witnessing or engaging with death is never easy for any healthcare professional, regardless of the clinical specialty. However, it is a vital aspect of our profession that teaches us important lessons about the value of life, empathy, and compassion. It reminds us that every patient deserves to be treated with respect, dignity, and compassion, and that every life is precious.

1. Field, M. J., & Cassel, C. K. (1997). Approaching death: Improving care at the end of life. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US).
2. McCormack, R., Edmondson, E., & Power, N. (2009). Opening and closing conversations about bereavement in the primary care consultation. Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care, 27(3), 174-179.

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