Improving end-of-life care in intensive
First I will define what I conceive medicine to be. In general terms, it is to do away
with the sufferings of the sick, to lessen the violence of their diseases, and to refuse
to treat those who are overmastered by their disease, realising that in such cases
medicine is powerless. (Hippocrates, c.400 BCE)
Politicians must address tough questions about limited resources. How many
teachers are you willing to fire in order to have 78-year olds have a procedure
which will be invented 5 years from
This book provides an ambitious overview of how topics related to death and dying are explored in modern Western theatre, covering a time-span of over a hundred years and engaging multiple cultural contexts. In a series of micronarratives beginning in the late nineteenth century, this book considers how and why death and dying are represented at certain historical moments using dramaturgy and aesthetics that challenge audiences’ conceptions, sensibilities and sense-making faculties. Chapters focus on the ambiguous evocation of death in symbolist theatre; fantastical representations of death in plays about the First World War; satires of death denial in absurdist drama; ‘theatres of catastrophe’ after Auschwitz and Hiroshima; and drama about dying in the early twenty-first century. The book includes a mix of well-known and lesser-known plays and performance pieces from an international range of dramatists and theatre-makers. It offers original interpretations through close reading and performance analysis, informed by scholarship from diverse fields, including history, sociology and philosophy.It investigates the opportunities theatre affords to reflect on the end of life in a compelling and socially meaningful fashion. Written in a lively, accessible style, this book will be of interest to scholars of modern Western theatre and those interested in death studies.
The Irish health system is confronted by a range of challenges, both emerging and recurring. In order to address these, it is essential that spaces are created for conversations around complex ethical and legal issues. This collection aims to provide a basis for ongoing engagement with selected issues in contemporary Irish health contexts. It includes contributions from scholars and practitioners across a range of disciplines, most particularly, ethics, law and medicine. The focus of the collection is interdisciplinary and the essays are situated at the intersection between ethics, law and medicine. Important issues addressed include admission to care homes; assisted suicide; adolescent decision-making; allocation of finite resources; conscientious objection; data protection; decision-making at the end of life; mental health; the rights of older people; patient responsibilities; stem cell research; the role of carers; and reproductive rights. From these discussion, the collection draws out the following interlinking themes, addressing difference; context and care; oversight and decision-making; and, regulating research. The essays are theoretically informed and are grounded in the realities of the Irish health system, by drawing on contributors’ contextual knowledge. This book makes an informed and balanced contribution to academic and broader public discourse.
Patient-centred dying: the role of law
Death is not the opposite of life, but a part of it.
Haruki Murakami, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman: 24 Stories
The way we die is a fundamental part of our life story. Yet, most of us dedicate
little time to thinking about how we want to die (McCarthy et al., 2010). It
seems inevitable in contemporary Ireland that the law will play an increased
role in decisions about the endoflife. There are several reasons for this.
Ongoing technological development and increased medical knowledge
on it, has
not gone away.
This is understandable. Death and dying invariably involve a plethora of thorny issues. With increased secularisation in many industrialised Western societies, religious assurances about the existence of
an afterlife have faded, lending credence to the rationalist credo that
one’s earthly existence is total. And yet, belief in posthumous spiritual
existence persists. Most pressing are concerns about end-of-life: specifically, the form it will take, its duration, and the degree of agency
one will have. It is common for dying people – as
range of art-forms, including theatre. In the fin de
siècle, spiritualism was in vogue, and so the subjects of mortality and
the afterlife were addressed with renewed interest. Spiritualists claimed
to be able to contact the dead, thus proving that death did not mean
the endoflife but simply marked a transformation from a corporeal
to a non-corporeal state of being. Scientists endeavoured to ascertain
if there was any truth to spiritualists’ supposed abilities to contact the
dead. In this way, the meaning of death was contested and put into flux.
naturally marks the endoflife. In late medieval descriptions of the
ages of man, death followed decrepitude, the final stage of old age. At
this point, the circle of life was complete: in the wheel of life
depicted in Robert de Lisle’s manuscript, death is marked by a
tomb, which bears close resemblance to the cradle symbolising the start
of life. In other
legislation as enacted is open to question. Nonetheless, by providing space for
the contributions of medical experts, ethicists and lawyers, as well as special
interest groups, the Oireachtas hearings enabled not just legislators but also
members of the public to evaluate contributions and to form their own views
on the issues discussed. Subsequent public hearings, including those on palliative and end-of-life care and organ donation, suggest a new openness to discussion although, of course, it is only when the task of legislating is embarked
upon that the real impact of
This course within the philosophy department draws students from a variety of
disciplines, including philosophy, biology, pre-medical and anthropology, as it
explores the complexities of end-of-life issues. Students engage with local community members through a series of workshops where issues such as euthanasia,
brain death and right-to-die laws are discussed. Information about the views of
rural communities is collected and the underlying values systems are explored.
Students also assist community participants in filling out living will documents
and related video
oflife’s journey. This last section of the poem expresses metaphorically the ambiguity of life, during which Christians know themselves to be safe because of Christ’s redemptive sacrifice, which already connects them to heaven, but know also that their salvation is still in danger as they face the moral challenges of life until they can follow Christ to heaven. No scholarly explanation has been given for the passage’s position at the very end of the poem or its thematic logic. 3 Read in the light of Ascension doctrines, however, the metaphor gains clarity. The