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The Rhetoric of Death and Dying

  • Barbara MaierEmail author
  • Warren A. Shibles†
Chapter
Part of the International Library of Ethics, Law, and the New Medicine book series (LIME, volume 47)

Abstract

Medicine aims at preventing death, yet it is not clear how we may understand what death is. “Death” is a word too familiar to us to be understood. The “Metaphorical Method” helps us to make death extraordinary. The rhetoric about death is a contribution to philosophy of medicine and to narrative medicine, as how to deal and to communicate death against the incommunicable and to avoid being silenced and isolated as a dying patient and his relatives. It is to enable healthcare-workers to develop an attitude open to communication with dying patients and their significant others. Because thought is mainly language use, careful attention should be paid to the metaphors and models the dying patient lives by. The criteria to bring about an appropriate death are: 1.conflict reduction, 2.proper understanding of the patient in terms of the image he has of oneself, 3.restoration of important social relationships, and 4.satisfaction of his wishes as much as possible. Also those who are losing their loved ones have to be taken care of. An adequate theory of emotion helps to cope with grief and bereavement.

Keywords

Death dying Metaphorical Method poetic metaphor death as language-game rhetoric of death emotion of grief and bereavement death denial humanistic view of death death – medical profession 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Gynecology and ObstetricsParacelsus Medical University SALKSalzburgAustria
  2. 2.University of Wisconsin–WhitewaterWhitewaterUSA

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