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Midwives for the dying

The Atlantic, December 17, 2013
The parallels between birth and death are numerous and remarkable. Like birth, dying is often associated with pain, uncertainty, and fear. In both cases, there is lots of waiting, certain signs occur reliably, and the final timing is not predictable. In neither case are health professionals in control. In death as in birth, patience, kindness, and privacy can make the experience more healing, bringing out more of the good and less of the bad in people. And a health professional with appropriate training and experience can do a lot to help patients and families negotiate both transitions.