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On Death and Dying: What the Dying Have to Teach Doctors, Nurses, Clergy and Their Own Families.

Donald Oken, MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1969;21(5):639-640. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1969.01740230127028.
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ABSTRACT

Death is an awesome, dreadful event, ubiquitously feared and, hence, denied and avoided. Faced with its imminence, however, the dying blot out its reality entirely only at great cost. To fail to confront it at all is to stifle that life which remains and to block the development of adaptive processes. Those who must deal with dying patients—their families and we in the helping professions—must face this problem too. If we give in to our own anxious wishes to escape, the cost to the patient will be high. When we turn away, does this not convey that the problem is too awful to permit any kind of real adaptation? And who can face death without the support of other human beings who are interested and concerned? It is to help us to deal with this problem that this book was written.

For some years, the author has inter

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