Wednesday April 8, 2020

A matter of life and death

Modern medicine means life can be prolonged past its natural end and death delayed, but is that necessarily a good thing, asks Susan Mitchell.

Susan Mitchell

Deputy Editor and Health Editor

@susmitchellsbp
23rd June, 2012
A woman receiving hospice care. Photo: Getty

Dying was once a brief process. These days, swift catastrophic illness is the exception rather than the rule. Nearly 30,000 people die annually in Ireland and for most, death comes after a long medical struggle with an incurable condition such as advanced cancer, progressive failure of organs such as the heart, kidney or liver, or the multiple infirmities of old age.

Death is still certain, but the timing no longer is. Medical advances mean that patients,...

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