Annual Editions: Dying, Death, and Bereavement 05/06

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  • Edition: 8th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2004-11-08
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill/Dushkin
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This informative anthology, now in its eighth edition, helps to provide an understanding of dying, death, and bereavement that will assist individuals in better coping with their own death and the death of others. These timely articles range from personal accounts to scientific and philosophical perspectives. This title is supported by Dushkin Online (, a student website that provides study support tools and links to related websites.

Table of Contents

UNIT 1. The American Way of Dying and Death

1. Technology and Death Policy: Redefining Death, Robert H. Blank, Morality, Volume 6, Number 2, July 2001

British political scientist Robert Blank analyzes the policy issues surrounding the definition of death within the context of technological and social changes.

2. The Unsettled Question of Brain Death, Peter Monaghan, The Chronicle of Higher Education, February 22, 2002

The author examines the issue of brain death and the removal of organs for transplant purposes from the point of view of various cultures including Canada, the United States, and Japan.

3. Anatomy Lessons, A Vanishing Rite for Young Doctors, Abigail Zuger, The New York Times, March 23, 2004

The issue of continuing to use human cadavers in medical school gross anatomy laboratories is being questioned. Could computers be the replacement of cadavers?

4. In Science’s Name, Lucrative Trade in Body Parts, John M. Broder, Sandra Blakeslee, Charlie LeDuff, and Andrew Pollack, The New York Times, March 12, 2004

The human body parts business is a rather lucrative endeavor in the twenty-first century. This article explains how "corpses are a precious raw material in a little known profit-making industry."

5. Deaths Go Unexamined and the Living Pay the Price, Anahad O’Connor, The New York Times, March 2, 2004

Autopsies are a way that the dead can assist the living—learning from mistakes disclosed from an autopsy. Yet, there is a decline in autopsies today. This article gives information on why autopsies are important for hospitals as well as the general public.

UNIT 2. Developmental Aspects of Dying and Death

6. Teaching End-of-Life Issues: Current Status in United Kingdom and United States Medical Schools, George E. Dickinson and David Field, American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Care, May/June 2002

Medical schools in the United States and United Kingdom are gradually integrating end-of-life issues into their curricula. Overall, the United Kingdom appears to provide more exposure regarding hospice involvement and palliative care.

7. Communication Among Children, Parents, and Funeral Directors, Daniel J. Schaefer, Loss, Grief and Care, Haworth Press, Inc., 1988

Daniel Schaefer, a funeral director, encourages parents to talk to children about death. He discusses children’s reactions to death and how to prepare children for attending funerals.

8. Children, Death, and Fairy Tales, Elizabeth P. Lamers, Omega, Volume 31, Number 2, 1995

This article examines the evolution and transformation of themes relating to dying and death in children’s literature, using the classic fairy tale “Little Red Riding Hood” to draw trends together.

9. Terrorism, Trauma, and Children: What Can We Do?, Linda Goldman, Healing, Spring 2002

Children’s reactions to terrorism, war, anthrax, and the perceived loss of safety and protection are discussed. Linda Goldman gives advice about talking to children about terrorism, trauma, and war and what children can do about their fears.

10. Helping Teenagers Cope With Grief, Alan D. Wolfelt,, 2003

Practical suggestions are given for understanding and relating to adolescents in times of death, including signs that a teenager may need help, the adult’s role, and acknowledgment of support groups.

11. Trends in Causes of Death Among the Elderly, Nadine R. Sahyoun et al., Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, March 2001

This article discusses the leading causes of death (chronic diseases) among the elderly toward the end of the twentieth century and observes trend patterns over the past two decades. Projections are made toward future breakthroughs in technological advances, public health initiatives, and social changes that may increase the length of life.

UNIT 3. The Dying Process

12. Placing Religion and Spirituality in End-of-Life Care, Timothy P. Daaleman and Larry VandeCreek, Journal of the American Medical Association, November 15, 2000

The authors distinguish between religion and spirituality and discuss how hospice care considers the spiritual and religious dimensions of the dying patient.

13. Dying Words: How Should Doctors Deliver Bad News?, Jerome Groopman, The New Yorker, October 28, 2002

A physician discusses his dealings with dying patients and their families in decision-making regarding possible treatments when cancer is diagnosed. He describes the role of oncologists in giving bad news.

14. Patients Whose Final Wishes Go Unsaid Put Doctors in a Bind, N. R. Kleinfield, The New York Times, July 19, 2003

A very small percentage of patients can voice advanced directives. This makes the physician’s role more difficult, especially when the patient is unable to make decisions regarding end-of-life care.

15. Start the Conversation, AARP Modern Maturity, September/October 2000

This article observes what is happening physically and emotionally to a dying person. It also investigates the critical decisions that must be made by the person or his or her caregivers.

16. Quality End-of-Life Care, Peter A. Singer, Douglas K. Martin, and Merrijoy Kelner, Journal of the American Medical Association, January 13, 1999

Improving care at the end of life can be of great value for dying people such as assuring them of affection and respect and reducing requests for assistance in dying.

17. Hospice Referral Decisions: The Role of Physicians, Brenda S. Sanders, Tracy L. Burkett, George E. Dickinson, and Robert E. Tournier, American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Care, May/June 2004

This article gives information in regards to hospice referrals. In many cases, medical doctors took the initiative in hospice referrals. Late referrals were most often due to reluctance by the patient and family to admit that death is imminent.

18. A Commentary: The Role of Religion and Spirituality at the End of Life, Harold G. Koenig, M.D., The Gerontologist, Vol. 42, Special Issue III, 2002

The religious and spiritual aspects of the dying process should play a pivotal role for the dying person, the family, and health care providers. The author of this article discusses the importance of having the dying patients needs being addressed.

UNIT 4. Ethical Issues of Dying, Death, and Suicide

19. Death and the Law, Lawrence Rudden, The World & I, May 2003

This article discusses the legality of the Oregon Death With Dignity Act and Attorney General John Ashcroft’s challenge to the law in his attempt to prevent terminal patients of Oregon from exercising their legal right to end their suffering with a physician’s help.

20. Why Secular Humanism is Wrong: About Assisted Suicide, Wesley J. Smith, Free Inquiry, Spring 2003

Most of the debate favoring assisted suicide has been led by secular humanists. This article challenges many of the assumptions of those who favor the practice, arguing from a secular humanist perspective. The author says that assisted suicide is not an answer to the problems it seeks to address.

21. Doctor, I Want to Die. Will You Help Me?, Timothy E. Quill, Journal of the American Medical Association, August 18, 1993

What are the possible responses that a physician can make to a patient who wants to die? This controversial dilemma is presented in the context of compassionate care for suffering and an awareness of the needs of the dying. In the commentary, a medical ethicist disagrees, stating that compassion cannot overrule a moral principle.

22. Competent Care for the Dying Instead of Physician-Assisted Suicide, Kathleen M. Foley, The New England Journal of Medicine, January 2, 1997

Legalized physician-assisted suicide is not a substitute for competent palliative care of the dying. Attention to the emotional, psychological, spiritual, and physical needs of the dying patient is the mark of a good doctor.

23. Euthanasia: A Need for Reform, Janis Moody, Nursing Standard, March 5, 2003

Janis Moody contends that the philosophical basis of the active-passive distinction has led to distortions in the law surrounding the issue of euthanasia. The author argues for a reform in nursing practice that will reclassify passive and active euthanasia as life-terminating acts. She further argues that nurses need to have an understanding of the ethical and legal basis of euthanasia to acknowledge and define their possible future role in relation to providing life-terminating acts.

24. Colleen’s Choice, Barry Yeoman, AARP The Magazine, March/April 2003

In this article, we follow the actions of Colleen Rice, who, with the assistance of her daughter, ends her life of suffering from cancer. This act of self-deliverance is portrayed as a rational and dignified attempt to bring closure to a life that Rice no longer felt was worth living.

25. End-of-Life Care: Forensic Medicine vs. Palliative Medicine, Joseph P. Pestaner, Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics, Fall 2003

This article provides an understanding of how state laws, the office of the Attorney General (John Ashcroft), and issues related to end-of-life and assisted suicide are being resolved in cases related to palliative medicine and forensic medicine.

26. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s Final Passage, Leslie Bennetts, Vanity Fair, June 1997

Best known as the pioneer of the thanatology movement, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross faces her own death in an unexpected manner. She is angry about her inability to die or to hasten her own death. This has caused her to question the meaning of her life’s work with the dying and the thanatology movement.

27. Kübler-Ross, Who Changed Perspectives on Death, Dies at 78, Holcomb B. Noble, New York Times, August 26, 2004

This article by Holcomb Noble is the obituatry of Dr. Kübler-Ross. She is known as the "psychiatrist whose pioneering work in counseling terminally ill patients helped to revolutionize the care of dying."

UNIT 5. Funerals and Burial Rites

28. The Contemporary American Funeral, Michael R. Leming and George E. Dickinson, Understanding Dying, Death, and Bereavement, Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1998

This article provides an overview of the present practice of funeralization in American society, including traditional and alternative funeral arrangements. The functions of funerals relative to the sociological, psychological, and theological needs of adults and children are also discussed.

29. Six Feet Under: Thomas Lynch Has Buried 6,000 Of His Neighbors. He Talks About the Business of Death., Kristen Davis, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine, February 2002

In this article, Thomas Lynch gives his son advice on how he wants his own funeral based upon his many years of clinical practice as a funeral director. His “no nonsense” advice provides thought provoking ideas for us all.

30. How Different Religions Pay Their Final Respects, William J. Whalen, U.S. Catholic, September 1990

A number of religious practices are reviewed in this article demonstrating the commonalities and differences among many religious traditions. Many of the rituals performed at the funeral are closely tied to the religious ideas of the people who perform them.

31. The Last Thing You Want to Do, Tim Matson, Mother Earth News, August/September 2001

In this very practical article, Tim Matson helps provide a means for economically planning a funeral. He discusses the entire process and the many options people have to create a funeral that reflects the lives they have lived without wiping out their estates.

32. An Unexpected Kind of Family Foresight, Ellen Ficklen, Newsweek, March 25, 2002

In this article, a daughter reflects upon the kindness of her parents in planning their own funerals before their actual deaths. In doing this, there was no need to speculate about her parents’ wishes, and in the process of helping her mother plan, she learned a lot about the lives her parents had lived.

33. Working With Death Was No Way to Live, Laura Bennett-Kimble, Newsweek, July 21, 2003

Laura Bennett-Kimble tells her personal story of working in a funeral home and how she developed both an honest sympathy and an emotional distance required by her trade. She discovered that to work as a funeral director she would have to become more callous to death and tragedy. Instead, she decided to release her pent-up emotions and reclaim her humanity by going into another occupation.

34. Therapist Equates Owner Grief to Family Member Loss: Human-Animal Bond Impacts Physical, Mental Health: Experts Push Pet Bereavement Mainstream, Jennifer Fiala, DVM Magazine, 2003

This article compares human and companion pet grief and gives practical suggestions on how to help to deal with pet loss.

35. Mourning the Loss of a Pet: Coping Strategies to Help Ease Your Grief and Celebrate Their Memory, Arden Moore, Prevention, April 2002

Another difficult task (and also another type of disenfranchised grief) is to cope with the loss of a companion pet. This article gives ten tips for coping with the loss of a pet. Practical in its tone, it will also assist others who attempt to provide support for friends and family who are dealing with pet loss.

UNIT 6. Bereavement

36. The Grieving Process, Michael R. Leming and George E. Dickinson, Understanding Dying, Death, and Bereavement, Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1998

This article discusses the seven basic coping strategies related to the bereavement process (shock and denial, disorganization, volatile emotions, guilt, loss and loneliness, relief, and reestablishment) and the four tasks of bereavement (accepting the reality of the loss, experiencing the pain of grief, adjusting to an environment in which the deceased is missing, and the withdrawing of emotional energy and reinvesting it in other relationships).

37. Disenfranchised Grief, Kenneth J. Doka, Disenfranchised Grief: Recognizing Hidden Sorrow, Lexington Books, 1989

Kenneth Doka discusses the unique situation of bereaved survivors whose loss is not, or cannot be, openly acknowledged, publicly mourned, or socially supported.

38. Enhancing the Concept of Disenfranchised Grief, Charles A. Corr, Omega, Volume 38, Number 1, 1998–1999

This article enhances and broadens the concept of disenfranchised grief in significant ways as it indicates that there are aspects of most losses that are indeed disenfranchised.

39. Till Death Do Us Part, Mickie Mashburn, The Advocate, February 19, 2002

This article is a personal account of a woman who has experienced disenfranchised grief as the surviving spouse in a same-sex relationship. She tells of how she was disinherited and marginalized by her partner’s family and denied her rightful claim to personal belongings, pension, and other benefits that normally go to a surviving spouse.

40. The Increasing Prevalence of Complicated Mourning: The Onslaught Is Just Beginning, Therese A. Rando, Omega, Volume 26, Number 1, 1992–1993

This article operationalizes complicated mourning and identifies its seven high-risk factors. The author argues that the prevalence of complicated mourning is increasing today due to a number of contemporary sociocultural and technological trends, with problems in both the mental health profession and the field of thanatology that are preventing or interfering with requisite treatment. New treatment policies and models are now mandated for intervention in complicated mourning.

41. Listening, Gerald Kamens, America, November 11, 2002

A hospice volunteer discusses his role in grief therapy. He discusses the religious questions asked by grieving family members and how he has discovered that through his ministry of listening, he is able to provide the best answers to the difficult questions raised by the people he serves.

42. Grief Takes No Holiday, Harvard Women’s Health Watch, December 2002

This article provides a very helpful guide for the bereaved in getting through the holidays, one of the most difficult times for grievers.

43. Discussing Tragedy With Your Child, Jay Reeve, The Brown University Child and Adolescent Behavior Letter, June 2002

This article helps with the difficult task of assisting parents to talk about tragedies with their children. The author acknowledges the difficulty of the task while providing some very helpful guidelines that help parents organize the discussion in a way that is helpful to their children.

44. Counseling With Children in Contemporary Society, Linda Goldman, Journal of Mental Health Counseling, April 2004

This article examines elements related to children’s developmental understandings of death, ways to talk to children about death, a broad understanding of the nature of children’s grief and bereavement, recognition of the common characteristics of grieving children, and useful interventions of the bereaved child by mental health counselors.

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