About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us

Doctors Too Are Traumatized By Deaths

by Medindia Content Team on September 15, 2007 at 1:29 PM
Font : A-A+

Doctors Too  Are  Traumatized By  Deaths

At the death, dying and disposal conference organized by the University of Bath today, a psychologist informed that doctors could benefit from support to help them cope with the trauma of patient death.

In a preliminary study, Dr Elaine Kasket from London Metropolitan University carried out detailed interviews with eight US physicians about their experiences of death. Half of those she spoke to wept as they recounted stories of traumatic death they had experienced as physicians, even though some of these events had occurred as much as 30 years ago.


"There is an unwritten rule for doctors that suggests it is not wise or possible for them to feel emotions over a patient's death because there is always another patient to help," said Dr Kasket. "Whilst this detachment might help when presented with a patient with a severe injury, I question how well it serves them in the longer term. "This emotional detachment is socially ingrained through medical school, and the cultures in both the UK and US medical establishments would see a physician's emotional response to death as a sign of weakness and even incompetence. "It feeds into this popular image of the physician as some kind of superhuman ultimate rescuer of human life; unable to do his or her job if they give in to or even acknowledge their emotions.

"The reality is that doctors, and other medical professionals, regularly encounter violent human death, and medical culture does not tend to acknowledge the possibility that they need support to help them deal with any grief and emotional disturbance they may experience. "There are countless examples of doctors being cold and dispassionate as they tell family members of the death of a loved one, and the physician's own defensiveness and anxiety could well be part of this communication problem. "It may be that creating a shell is actually the best way of coping with the trauma of the job, but I'm not convinced of that. It is certainly not the case for psychologists working with cancer patients who feel unable to work well if they do not process their emotions.

"Medical training instils and re-enforces this approach to dealing with death. "Also there needs to be a sea change in medical culture to make support available, and for it not to be stigmatised, to help them cope with grief, depression, despair or sadness." The eighth international conference on Death, dying & disposal is organised by the Centre for Death & Society and ICIA at the University of Bath and takes place from 12-15 September 2007. More than 200 academics and practitioners from around the world will gather to discuss the latest research on issues relating to the social aspects of death and dying.

Source: Eurekalert

News A-Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Turmeric: Magic Ingredient to Keep you Healthy in Winter
Top 7 Benefits of Good Oral Hygiene
Healthy and Safer Thanksgiving 2021
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Iodine Deficiency Disorder Death Facts Eradicate Quackery, Save Lives Different Medical Specialists and their Area of Medical Expertise 

Recommended Reading
Teens can Learn to Manage and Control Powerful Emotions
A new study has found that teenagers experiencing powerful emotions can learn to manage and control ...
Different Medical Specialists and their Area of Medical Expertise
A medical specialist is a recognized expert in his field and is usually accredited by a medical boa...
Eradicate Quackery, Save Lives
Quackery means promotion of a medical cure which is otherwise scientifically unproven and baseless....
Iodine Deficiency Disorder
To control IDD, the ‘National Goiter Control Program (NGCP)’ was launched which was later renamed as...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use