Autumn Books

The Dead Good Funerals Book

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 19 October 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:1023
  1. Abi Berger

    Sue Gill, John Fox Engineers of the Imagination, £9.50, pp 192 ISBN 0 9527159 0 2

    I have only ever witnessed one peaceful death in hospital. Yet of all the deaths I have been party to, it is this quiet and almost unremarkable event that I remember most clearly and not the many rib shattering, chest thumping ones that remain the institutional norm. In a state of unusually heightened awareness of the fragility of life, this single death taught me more about the privilege and intimacy of being a doctor than anything else I had yet experienced.

    Neither the trauma of the casualty department nor the life support paraphernalia of the intensive care unit had made such a dent on the hardened shell that I had grown. Ironically, this rare serene death of an elderly man was one of the events that led me to leave medicine, at least for a time. It made me look at myself, and …

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