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Medicine and Care of the Dying: A Modern History

Oxford University Press
Place of Publication: 
new York

This book examines the relationship between medicine's approach to care of the terminally ill and the changing medical, social, political, economic and cultural context in the English-speaking world. The rise of modern biomedicine has brought conflict between a medical reductionist view of human functioning and an individual and collective need to find meaning in dying and death. Within medicine a struggle is going on between the "research imperative" with its implicit goal of overcoming death itself and the re-emergent but ancient clinical imperative to treat death as part of life and so to make the process of dying as tolerable as possible. The contemporary palliative care movement recognizes this clinical imperative. Lewis highlights the rise of that movement, along with cancer treatment, pain control, and the issue of euthanasia. (Publisher)