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Tan YS, Cheong PY
Correspondence: Dr Tan Yew Seng, firstname.lastname@example.org
The study of narratives is increasingly noted for its value in the professional and personal development of doctors. We present the narratives of one of the author’s experiences in the care of dying patients over a span of three decades. From the narratives, we identified three paradigms with which doctors respond to and care for dying patients and their families: ‘No death’, where there is a general denial of death and dying; ‘Death’, where the care provider’s focus is directed to the facilitation of a ‘good’ death; and ‘Life’, where the doctor responds to the patients’ death and dying as integrated and inseparable aspects of the patient’s and family’s life. The origins and implications of the paradigms are discussed. In addition to good communication, these narratives underscore the importance of personal reflection and insight when providing end-of-life care.
Keywords: death, doctor, dying, end-of-life care, narration
Singapore Med J 2011; 52(3): 140-145