Living with Dying Blog
Death with Dignity National Center
April 3, 2012
From the beginning, physicians have an adversarial relationship with death. The pathologists who spend their days surrounded by bits of tissue on glass slides and tumors in bottles of formalin learn to live with death, but that’s only because it’s part of their job description. For the rest of us, death is the enemy, and though we know we’re all destined to “lose the battle” with death eventually, that doesn’t stop us from trying to ignore or defeat the inevitable. Even our lab coats are white, as if the ability to bleach away the stains bestows the added power to make bad things go away with the wave of a stethoscope. In truth, black would be a more appropriate color for our coats. It would hide the stray marks of pen, splashes of blood, and unidentified smears that mar the traditional white. But no one goes to a physician to be reminded of a funeral; so, when the white coats get too grubby we replace them with new ones.
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