Notes from the Frontline: When Death Becomes Routine (Part 1)

David Thomas Peacock // I wasn’t prepared for so much death. Before I became an emergency room nurse, I worked on a neurology unit with stroke patients. I loved that job.  I gained a lot of clinical knowledge from my colleagues, but I learned even more about what it means to be a human faced…

Laughing at Death – Part 2: When the Dying Tell Jokes

James Belarde “My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One of us has got to go.” -Oscar Wilde, shortly before succumbing to illness In Mumbai, India, a kind-looking elderly woman sits on a stool behind a microphone and calmly quips “Life is like that TV journalist Arnab Goswami. Never take it…

Laughing at Death: Gallows Humor and the Physician’s Psyche

James Belarde “Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.” -George Bernard Shaw, The Doctor’s Dilemma If you’re reading this article, you’re going to die. That’s not to say, hopefully, that this piece is so bad it will kill you. Nor is…

Francis Bacon’s New Science of Life-Prolongation

Aaron L. Greenberg Is a long life actually a better experience than a short one? Unlike his seventeenth-century contemporaries, who assumed that life gets qualitatively worse the longer it lasts, Francis Bacon proposed in The History Naturall And Experimentall, of Life and Death, Or of the Prolongation of Life (Latin 1623; English 1638) that longer…