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September 19, 1977

The Experience of Dying

JAMA. 1977;238(12):1299. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280130081031

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This book, a selection of previously unpublished readings on attitudes toward death and dying, is specifically addressed to the broad range of hospital personnel—from physicians and nurses, to mental health workers to aides—who care for the dying. The book will be useful for teaching purposes, where a general introduction to the problems of the dying and suggestions for responses to their problems is required.

The Experience of Dying attempts to present an alternative to the Kübler-Ross suggestion that the process of dying be viewed as a series of normative stages. Indeed, Pattison writes that he finds no evidence to support the Kübler-Ross position. Instead of a single normative process, Pattison suggests that "dying persons demonstrate a wide variety of emotions, which ebb and flow throughout their living-dying, just as our emotions ebb and flow throughout our entire lives as we face conflicts and crisis." In the most thought-provoking essay in