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January 20, 1975

Dying Is Worked to Death

Author Affiliations

University of California San Francisco

JAMA. 1975;231(3):246-247. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03240150010006

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To the Editor.—  I have usually been pleased by the editorial opinions of Dr. Samuel Vaisrub, but was brought up short by his comment on death in the Sept 30 JAMA.He has hit on one of the major problems in medical education as it now exists, in his remark that the physician "has been trained to cure, not to comfort; to relieve pain, not to dispel dread." This de facto educational attitude means to many persons that physicians should be excellent technicians (which most are), but that their humanity should be set aside whenever they meet a "clinical problem" (which too many do).He also proposes a series of questions about attitudes and actions related to death in its various forms, but instead of suggesting that more study and writing are needed on the subject, he reacts to his own important unanswered questions by hiding his soul under a