LIFE Before Death #49: Why We Care

2012 May 4
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Short Film 49 of 50 in the LIFE Before Death documentary series about the global crisis in untreated pain and the dramatic life changing affect palliative care services can deliver to patients and their families around the world.

In “Why We Care”we explore the rewards and calling that draws health professionals into the area of palliative care.

“Over the last three or four decades that we’ve being doing palliative care, I can’t tell you the number of people that, twenty years after they’ve left the team say; ‘You know the time I spent on the service was the best time of my life,” reflects Dr Balfour Mount (Canada).

“Death is a natural form of the human being,” continues Dr Andrew Young (China). “We Chinese celebrate birthday but we regret the day of death, or the dying patient. It’s wrong, I think.”

“When people usually hear that phase ‘death and dying’, it frames it as loss, as diminution, as an ending,” observes Dr Charles Von Gunten (USA). “In contrast, the lived experience, what I get to routinely see if treating patients is growth and development. People become more of who they are. They discover new features of what it means to be alive.”

“That’s one of the paradoxes,” concludes Dr Mount. “People say; ‘What do you do?’ And I say; ‘Palliative care’. And they blanch and they think; ‘Well that must be a really depressing thing to do’. They can’t believe it when you say; ‘In fact, it’s not depressing at all’. The reason it’s not depressing is because of how much you can help at so little cost.”

Featuring: Dr Balfour Mount (Canada), Dr Andrew Young (China), Dr David Morrison (Canada), Dr Charles Von Gunten (USA), Dr Shannon Moore (USA), Dr Manuel Borod (Canada), Dr MR Rajagopal (India), Dr Faith Mwangi-Powell (Uganda).

If you’ve missed previous episodes, catch up on the LIFE Before Death website…

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The LIFE Before Death feature film was premiered on 1 February 2012 in Singapore.

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