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June 1959

The Psychiatrist and the Dying Patient.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1959;103(6):1011. doi:10.1001/archinte.1959.00270060163035

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American physicians on the contemporary scene suffer in aggravated form from their rejection of the very idea of death. Rarely are they able to face death in a patient with equanimity. The vigilant and sympathetic support which patients rightly expect of their physicians may be lacking. This book, written by a perceptive and thoughtful psychoanalyst, is one of the rare contemporary considerations of the problem of death and dying which really even tries to throw light on the subject.

A striking reproduction of the death mask of Beethoven serves as frontispiece and sets the tone for this scholarly and searching essay. Death as a precondition for life and the impossibility of physical immortality with infinitely protracted longevity are taken as basic assumptions. The contributions of Heidegger, Simmel, Ehrenberg, and Freud, as well as a review of a great deal of miscellaneous and out-of-the-way material published mostly in this century, define

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