Where do you want to die? How do you want to be remembered? What is it like to be present when someone dies?
Death is a subject that it is often difficult to talk about, but is something we all have in common. On this blog I have shared some of my thoughts and experiences as a healthcare professional, having seen death, dying and grief more than most people I know. I have advocated for more open discussions about the fragility of the human body, the limits of medical interventions, and the freedom to live life to the full that might be gained from embracing it’s finite nature.
As a teacher I believe I have a responsibility to prepare medical students to deal with death and grief, and wonder whether we need new ways to do this effectively. Can sharing our experiences with the public be a learning experience for all? Can the arts and humanities help us to cross the ‘us and them’ doctor-public divide?
On 16th May I will be hosting “An Evening with Death” with Hollie McNish, my good friend and UK Slam Poetry champion. It will be an evening of poetry, performance and discussion to support the Dying Matters Coalition’s aim “to support changing knowledge, attitudes and behaviours towards death, dying and bereavement, and through this to make living and dying well the norm.” I am very grateful to UCL SLMS Public Engagement unit for supporting this event.
We hope that the evening will be thought-provoking, life affirming and fun! The event is free, but booking is essential so book your ticket now and join us for drinks and discussion at the Printworks Cafe, UCL. I hope to see you there!
For further information, I have curated some links to related events such as Death Cafe’s, Dinner with Death and other Dying Matters Events.
Dear Dr. Smith,
I was very moved by your June 11, 2012 article on the concept of futility. Thank you for sharing your experience and wisdom. I appreciated your discussion of the issues related to providing futile treatment, and your reference to the ethical principles of Kant. I’ve been thinking this week about the concept of futility from a philosophical standpoint, and I’ve posted an article on my blog at http://philosophyreaders.blogspot.com/2013/04/some-thoughts-about-concept-of-futility.html. I look forward to reading more of your articles, and to following your blog.
It is so inspiring that you are coordinating such a great event. It excellent that health care professionals are educated in a more public health approach to dying and so mirroring the experiences of thier patients. The Natural Death Centre charity is so looking forward to the ‘Evening with Death’.
Susan Morris, Trustee
The Natural Death Centre Charity,
Registered Charity No: 1091396
The Natural Death Centre is an educational charity which sees death as a natural part of life. Founded in 1991, it is committed to supporting cultural change and is working towards a situation where all people are empowered in the process of dying, and organising a funeral