Wednesday, September 2, 2015

On Death With the Eminent Dr Sacks

Isle of the Dead | Arnold Böcklin
Dr Sack's, eminent humanist and beloved neurologist died last Sunday. He made the world of medicine accessible to the lay people and brought insight into the struggle of being human. I came across this article about his perspective on death in Flavorwire digital newsletter, that I thought I would share.

Here are some of my favorite quotes, the first being top, from the article that lead me to his recent essays on death
  • Americans’ relationship to death has often struck me as being an extension of our puritan attitudes about sex  ... yet many Americans could care less about the deaths of oppressed people at the hands of the state, or from neglect.
  • “Our reluctance to honestly examine the experience of aging and dying has increased the harm we inflict on people and denied them the basic comforts they most need,” 
  • Rather than the kind of palliative care that would allow the dying to sum up their lives and say goodbye, Gawande chronicles how we often opt for invasive treatment that could prolong life, but so often doesn’t.
I do feel our society has a tricky relationship with death and aging. We can barely talk/tackle other social issues like race or poverty so, sadly, it is no surprise. I think talking about death is important to discuss openly, especially with loved ones. It is a natural part of our life process and it seems so often people are not prepared for.

 Here are Dr Sack's thoughts when he was initially diagnosed, followed by The Periodic Table and The Sabbath.

In typical enthusiasm Dr Sack's last tweet

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