The Value of Death: bringing death back into life
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Report of the Lancet Commission


 
 
...The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that death is prominent in daily media reports and health systems have been overwhelmed. People have died the ultimate medicalized deaths, often alone but for masked staff in hospitals and intensive care units, unable to communicate with family except electronically. This situation has further fuelled the fear of death, reinforcing the idea of healthcare services as the custodian of death.
Climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, environmental destruction, and attitudes to death in high-income countries have similar roots—our delusion that we are in control of, and not part of, nature. Large sums are being invested to dramatically extend life, even achieve immortality, for a small minority in a world that struggles to support its current population. Health care and individuals appear to struggle to accept the inevitability of death.
Philosophers and theologians from around the globe have recognized the value that death holds for human life. Death and life are bound together: without death, there would be no life. Death allows new ideas and new ways. Death also reminds us of our fragility and sameness: we all die. Caring for the dying is a gift, as some philosophers and many carers, both lay and professional, have recognized. Much of the value of death is no longer recognized in the modern world, but rediscovering this value can help care at the end of life and enhance living...
 
...Conversations about death and dying can be difficult. Doctors, patients, or family members may find it easier to avoid them altogether and continue treatment, leading to inappropriate treatment at the end of life...
 

 

 

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