Death, Dying, and Modern Medicine


Course Title

Death, Dying, and Modern Medicine

Course Description

Despite death’s inevitability, we consciously and unconsciously disguise or resist its reality in dreams, fairy tales, allegories, and even jokes. In his book, How We Die: Reflections on Life’s Final Chapter, Sherwin Nuland describes how we have turned increasingly to modern medicine as one more means of denying the reality of death. As a surgeon with more than forty years of experience in a major metropolitan hospital, Nuland admits to actively participating in this denial. Modern medicine, he argues, influences how we as individuals and as a culture not only view but also experience death. “Modern dying,” he contends, “takes place in the modern hospital, where it can be hidden, cleansed of its organic blight, and finally packaged for modern burial.” This course uses literature, history, and personal and critical accounts related to death as points of reference for examining the role modern medicine has come to play in how we die.

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Geographic Location

Cleveland, OH

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Death, Dying, and Modern Medicine