Thanatology: Death & Modern Man

Neither the sun nor death can be looked at steadily.

—La Rochefoucauld

Modern medicine has steadily prolonged lives, slashed death rates and, for many patients, changed drastically the very process of dying. Yet, except for a handful of psychiatrists, medical men have paid only cursory attention to the problem they have thus inadvertently intensified: How are the fatally ill to be helped to face the end?

Medical scientists cannot even agree on the time when death technically occurs. Is it when breathing stops? Or the heart? Or when brain waves cease? Psychologists and...

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