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Can palliative care improve society? Cicely Saunders and the moral order of dying

Published on: Author: David Clark Leave a comment

In 1961 Cicely Saunders, in a short article written for a general audience, observed:  ‘A society which shuns the dying must have an incomplete philosophy’ [1]. The remark is loaded with import. In her observation, ‘the dying’, seem to constitute a known social category. Not only neglected, they are persistently avoided, ignored, or rejected through… Continue reading

Celebrating the centenary of Cicely Saunders

Published on: Author: David Clark Leave a comment
Dame Cicely Saunders (courtesy of Christopher Saunders’)

In 2018 we are celebrating the centenary of the birth of Cicely Saunders. She is the acknowledged founder of the modern hospice movement which led to the creation of the palliative care specialty. So we can expect to see a wide range of events and activities to mark the occasion, not only in her own country, but… Continue reading

Autonomy and creativity at the end of life

Published on: Author: Ben Colburn Leave a comment
carved skull in Naples, Italy (courtesy of Ben Colburn)

What does it mean to have a good death? The best way of answering this question takes us via a philosophical theory of the good life. Central to living a good life is the value of autonomy: deciding for yourself what is valuable and living your life in accordance with that decision. Autonomy is an… Continue reading

Maureen Lipman on Dame Cicely Saunders for Great Lives on BBC Radio 4

Published on: Author: David Clark 3 Comments

Great Lives is a much-loved biographical programme on Radio 4, the BBC’s current affairs and factual radio network. I have often listened to Great Lives at home or in the car and always enjoy the choice of subject, the perspectives of the contributors and the ideas that flow between them. At the time of writing this… Continue reading

A hospice visit reveals the ‘noun’ and the ‘adjective’

Published on: Author: David Clark 1 Comment
St Margaret's of Scotland Hospice, Glasgow

I’ve visited many hospices over the years so there’s a sense of familiarity about them, but amongst the ‘pattern recognition’ there’s always a unique feature that jumps out, grabbing the attention. No matter how much one believes rationally in the ‘main-streaming’ of palliative care into the whole healthcare system, there is still something about the individuality of hospice… Continue reading

The birth of the Oxford Textbook of Palliative Medicine

Published on: Author: David Clark Leave a comment

Being taken round a New Zealand hospice I was amused and, let’s admit it, thrilled to see a well-worn copy of the book, its hard cover almost falling off. “Well used !” I said to the doctor. “ Yes indeed” he said:  “perfect for holding up the old piano!” Thankfully he then pointed to two… Continue reading

Founding the Association for Palliative Medicine of Great Britain and Ireland – by Derek Doyle

Published on: Author: David Clark Leave a comment
Derek Doyle 9 July 2014

The 1970s and 1980s saw palliative care services starting all over Britain – hospices and NHS ‘continuing care units’, day units, home care services, hospital consultation services, ‘hospice at home’. Those were undeniably exciting times but they brought many problems and challenges. Where were the trained staff? There were no plans or policies in place… Continue reading

Dr Saunders and Dr Rustomjee – an early example of #hpmglobal

Published on: Author: David Clark 3 Comments

  Just before Easter 1961, Cicely Saunders sat down to send greetings to a colleague. It was someone who shared her interests in developing special facilities and approaches for the care of the dying – especially those with advanced cancer. Nothing unusual in that. She was now getting into her stride with a growing ambition… Continue reading