On Death and Dying - III and IV Summary & Analysis

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III and IV Summary and Analysis

Denial is the most common reaction to learning of a terminal illness. Most people are sure there must be a mistake about the diagnosis. Kubler-Ross sees denial as a buffer that allows the patient to "mobilize other, less radical defenses." She believes it is better to discuss death with a patient long before it arrives. Patients use denial to different degrees before accepting the finality of death, some never admitting or accepting to the very end. The reaction of denial is related to shock, and is a way of coping with the concept of mortality. An example is a patient who was so convinced she was cured by a faith healer of her terminal liver disease, that she became difficult to manage in the hospital, not behaving like a patient. The author feels the loneliness, fear and...

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