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Special Article |

The Doctor, the Dying Patient, and the Bereaved

JOHN R. MARSHALL, M.D.; GENE M. ABROMS, M.D.; and MILTON H. MILLER, M.D.
Ann Intern Med. 1969;70(3):615-620. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-70-3-615
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SUMMARY:

It is suggested that many forces seek to prevent an appreciation of the interrelatedness of the doctor's role in caring for the terminal patient and in working with the family in the hours and days immediately after the death of the patient and in the longer period of bereavement. The physician should not absent himself from any phase of this unified interval in the life of a family for whom he cares. In particular, the importance of the doctor's sustaining contact with the bereaved over a period of time is stressed. We view the doctor as being in a unique position both to maintain the dignity and worthwhileness of a dying patient while life persists and to help in the restoration and maintenance of such dignity and meaning in those who have sustained a profound loss.

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