Customer Review

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Particularly useful for the parents of a dying child, 29 Mar 2005
This review is from: Living with Death and Dying: How to Communicate with the Terminally Ill (Paperback)
This is a book written for people that need to deal with death of a friend or relative. The book would be of some use regardless of the age of the dying person, but is particularly relevant to the parents of a child with a terminal illness.
The first thing about this book is that it's a relatively small paperback. Having read another book by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, "On Death and Dying", this was welcome. Many other books on the subject are aimed at medical professionals dealing with clients and as such are long and hard to read, this book is completely
different.
The first chapter "House Calls and Hospital Calls: The challenge to hear our patients". I see this as essentially two parts, the first about 40 pages discusses the stages that people go through when dying and about discussing the topic of death. It includes examples where patients were ready to talk about the possibility of their death and those that weren't. The second part about a dozen pages long focuses on children and their understanding of what is happening, or going to happen to them. This chapter is very well written and considering the subject matter, it is hard to put down. The book uses accounts of real people which flow together very quickly making you want to continue to read to hear about the next person.
The second chapter "The Use of Drawings Made at Significant Times in One's Life", is in my opinion far less useful, but that may be my personal scepticism. The chapter is written by Gregg M Furth and is about 30 pages long. It uses example pictures from patients and attempts to deduce information about them. Whilst I believe it's possible to get an overview of a persons thoughts through looking at pictures they draw, this goes much further examining in a lot of detail individual components and drawing style. Whilst convincing in some areas, I can't help but think some of the conclusions could be a result of the patients drawing skills or drawing style. This chapter manages to reinforce my scepticism by suggesting a link between the number of shapes or flowers in a picture relating to how long before they died. I personally find it hard to believe that this "Sixth Sense" is real, rather than just a coincidence that is created by trying to read too much into the picture.
The third chapter "Parent Care: Total Involvement in the care of a Dying child", is written by Martha Pearse Elliot and is about 60 pages long. This is a very moving chapter using the authors personal experience of their own dying child along with that of other parents in similar situations. Whilst highly emotional I expect this would be very useful for a parent of a child with a terminal illness. This is the longest chapter specifically focused on dying children. This means it is particularly relevant for parents of dying children, but has little direct relevance for dying adults.
Finally chapter four "The Issue of Sudden Death" is written by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. It is fairly short at less than 20 pages long, but adequately covers the subject. This chapter takes the form of an interview between Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and an emergency-room employee. It discusses both the point of view seen by the hospital staff in their attempt to save the life, and the needs of the patients family, both whilst fighting for life in the emergency-room (Accident and Emergency dept.), and immediate needs after the fight for life has ended.
In general a good book that uses examples and emotional text to explain about the process of death and dying and how to communicate with the dying person. I found the second chapter less useful, but the rest of the book compensates for this quite well. How useful this book is would depend upon the person reading this book. If it is an adult that is dying or the relative of a dying adult then most likely only the first pages will be of interest. For the parent of a dying child then most of the book will be of interest.
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