Views & Reviews Medical Classics

Tuesdays with Morrie

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 28 February 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d1267
  1. Kathryn Kavanagh, senior house officer, Centre for Ageing, Neuroscience, and the Humanities, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2
  1. kathrynkavanagh22{at}

Having worked as a trainee on both sides of the Atlantic, in both surgery and medicine, I found substantial cultural differences in willingness to discuss emotionally charged topics such as death and dying. Because this remains a difficult area for many, looking to North American literature can give interesting insights. Tuesdays with Morrie invites us to reflect on the dying process. Professor Morrie Schwartz is a fun loving and progressive sociologist, lecturing at Brandeis University in Massachusetts. When diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, he decides to use his terminal illness as a sociological study of sorts. Morrie enrols Mitch, a favoured past pupil, to record his end …

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