Published on: October 29, 2015

It was interesting to read two articles, one after the other. In The Washington Post of 26 October 2015, Aaron Kheriaty writes about how doctors use euphemisms and avoid the word ‘death’. Doctors say “declaring a patient” when they mean “declaring death”. Doctors say someone “expired” as if they are talking about a cough medicine, rather than “died”.

The Independent of 6 October 2015 quotes several people who know they are going to die of some disease or other, and talk about the experience. Interestingly, none seems to be afraid of the word “death”. There is one person who says, “I told my doctor I wanted to switch to palliative care and discontinue all chemo. And it changed my life……. This time last year, my life was already gone. And somehow, amazingly, I have it back.”

The Washington Post hastens to add that gradually non-doctors also are getting to be more and more afraid of the word “death”, we becoming a death-denying society. The article asks us to re-learn the art of dying and of tending to the dying.