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an old woman holds her head in her hands

How To Help People Grieve

2/22/15 – After a prolonged and debilitating illness, two weeks ago my father finally died. As a physician, I’ve observed many people experience loss, but this is the first time I’ve lost someone close…Read More

an arm lying on a bed with glasses

My Father Is Dying

11/23/14 – Somewhere around 2004 or so—I no longer remember the exact year—my father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. We’d been wondering why his legs had been feeling weak, and at first…Read More

The Best Disease From Which To Die

9/9/12 – We can’t, of course, plan the way we’re going to die (with the obvious exception of suicide). We can, however, live in such a way that reduces the likelihood of…Read More

The Exact Date Of Your Demise

11/13/11 – Human beings are the only living creatures endowed with a full awareness of their mortality, a wound so painful that they’re driven to pull every cognitive trick in the book…Read More


7/24/11 – A relative of mine recently died, so my parents, my brothers, and I went to his funeral.  The rabbi was appropriately somber and talked about him fondly, as if she’d…Read More

Pronouncing Someone Dead

8/22/10 – When I was an intern in internal medicine, I admitted a patient to my service with pancreatic cancer.  Pancreatic cancer is a bad one; back then, only ten percent of…Read More

Tribute To A Patient

10/11/09 – For a doctor, every patient death is unpleasant.  My first thought when it happens to me is always, “What mistakes did I make?”  I go back through the sequence of…Read More