Physicians are often called on to care for patients and members of patients' families during the period of bereavement. The grief process serves a psychologically adaptive function and usually progresses in a predictable manner. Under certain unusual circumstances, however, the grieving process may become pathologically delayed or distorted, with serious consequences for the survivor's emotional and physical health. There are three phases of the normal grief process and particular guidelines for physician recognition and management of pathological grief reactions.
Brown JT, Stoudemire GA. Normal and Pathological Grief. JAMA. 1983;250(3):378-382. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03340030038025