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To die well: the phenomenology of suffering and end of life ethics
Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Centre for Studies in Practical Knowledge.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8973-8591
2019 (English)In: Medicine, Health care and Philosophy, ISSN 1386-7423, E-ISSN 1572-8633Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

The paper presents an account of suffering as a multi-level phenomenon based on concepts such as mood, being-in-the-world and core life value. This phenomenological account will better allow us to evaluate the hardships associated with dying and thereby assist health care professionals in helping persons to die in the best possible manner. Suffering consists not only in physical pain but in being unable to do basic things that are considered to bestow meaning on one's life. The suffering can also be related to no longer being able to be the person one wants to be in the eyes of others, to losing one's dignity and identity. These three types of suffering become articulated by a narrative that holds together and bestows meaning on the whole life and identity of the dying person. In the encounter with the patient, the health-care professional attempts to understand the suffering-experience of the patient in an empathic and dialogic manner, in addition to exploring what has gone wrong in the patient's body. Matters of physician assisted suicide and/or euthanasia-if it should be legalized and if so under which conditions-need to be addressed by understanding the different levels of human suffering and its positive counterpart, human flourishing, rather than stressing the respect for patient autonomy and no-harm principles, only. In this phenomenological analysis the notions of vulnerability and togetherness, ultimately connecting to the political-philosophical issues of how we live together and take care of each other in a community, need to be scrutinized.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2019.
Keywords [en]
Dying, Euthanasia, Narrative, Palliative care, Phenomenology, Suffering
National Category
Medical Ethics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-38920DOI: 10.1007/s11019-019-09914-6PubMedID: 31463881Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85072048862OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-38920DiVA, id: diva2:1349131
Available from: 2019-09-06 Created: 2019-09-06 Last updated: 2019-09-25Bibliographically approved

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Svenaeus, Fredrik

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Citation style
  • apa
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  • harvard-anglia-ruskin-university
  • apa-old-doi-prefix.csl
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