whose need is it?

We recently discussed Kelly, Varghese and Pelusi’s article “Countertransference and ethics: A perspective on clinical dilemmas in end-of-life decisions” … an excellent introduction to the many inter-personal, emotional and spiritual realities that inevitably inform any decision, in particular decisions near the end of life.

A couple of quotes from the article …

“The confrontation with the limitations of medical interventions to reverse disease progression may present a specific challenge to the doctors’ sense of effectiveness and self-esteem. It is perhaps the confrontation with death that can be most provocative and complex, because this presents all those around the dying patient with a reminder of the inevitability and universality of death and loss.”

“The patient’s fears may resonate strongly with the doctor’s fear of death and fears of dependency, loss of control, and difficulty tolerating uncertainty. In such circumstances both may find themselves seeking various forms of relief from the distress and tension such threats pose.”