January 20, 1975

Dying Is Worked to Death

Author Affiliations

Los Angeles

JAMA. 1975;231(3):247. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03240150010007

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To the Editor.—  Dr. Samuel Vaisrub comments that "dying is worked to death" and he concludes in his editorial that "it is much too easy to write about death." I must assume that the mysterious protective reflex he spoke of is keeping him "oblivious to the certainty of his death."Emotionally, all of us tend, to a greater or lesser extent, to deny the inevitability of death for ourselves. As a result, each time one's patient dies, considerable anxiety is mobilized over the realization that "There but for the grace of God go I." Accordingly, I must disagree with Dr. Vaisrub's suggestion that "it is possible to argue that our neglect of the dying has been exaggerated."I believe it is unfortunate that too many physicians have "been trained to cure, not to comfort; to relieve pain, not to dispel dread." I think that comforting and relieving dread is fully