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Reclaiming the public understanding of dying

30 Sep
Katherine Mannix
Photo credit: Craig Fordham
Part of Cicely Saunders Institute Seminar Series

By Dr Katherine Mannix

Healthcare advances in the second half of the 20th century significantly increased life expectancies, reducing deaths from previously untreatable causes. This is a good thing. And yet, extended life expectancies allow us to reach old age and accumulate multiple incurable long-term conditions as we do so. The expectation that medical expertise will always avert death has changed ordinary dying from a personal and family event at home to a medical, depersonalised medical failure in hospital.

I’m on a campaign to re-claim the public understanding of dying. Loss of familiarity with the process of dying has left people afraid of unlikely complications, uncomfortable to have conversations with their dear ones, unlikely to plan ahead and therefore less likely to have their wishes and preferences met at the end of their lives. It’s time to talk about dying. Let’s be ambassadors for that conversation.

About the speaker

Kathryn Mannix is using her 30 years’ experience as a palliative care doctor to campaign for better public understanding of dying. Her book about the way people live while they are dying, With the End in Mind (William Collins 2017) became an unlikely Best Seller and was shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize.

About the seminar series

The Cicely Saunders Institute Open Seminar Series events are free to attend and during the COVID-19 pandemic, are held online.

This is event is also the Michal Galazka International Seminar, part of our global leadership programme and is named in honour of Michal Galazka, who was a pioneer of international hospice education.

This seminar is worth CPD (1 credit) pending from the Royal College of Physicians. 

The series aim is to optimise opportunities for local, national and international networking within palliative care and rehabilitation. We facilitate seminars to assist in improving practice, education and policy, and the integration of research and clinical endeavours.

Cicely Saunders Institute celebrates 10 years

Part of Cicely Saunders Institute turns 10, celebrating 10 years since the opening of the Cicely Saunders Institute at King's College London in 2010.


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