Friday, December 14, 2007

The Great Cremation Ground

One of my colleagues just came back from a trip to India and told me about a place called Manikarnika Ghat, also known as "The Great Cremation Ground."

According to Hindu mythology, being burned here provides an instant gateway to liberation from the cycle of births and rebirths. Karmic bonds are suppose to be burnt along with the body, which is how one is liberated from needing to be rebirthed. It is said that the funeral fires at the Manikarnika ghat have been burning for thousands of years. A constant stream of corpses come to this ghat to be burnt, day and night. According to my colleague, most corpses do not get enough time to burn properly and are often unceremoniously dumped, half burnt into the sacred river.

I have never traveled to India, but if I do, this certainly seems like an interesting place to check out.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Estimating Time of Death

I am not in the practice of having to estimate time of death, as generally patients in the hospital are being watched routinely, and thus the time of death is already known. But I am on a list serv where someone posed a question that elicited this link. I thought the link was an interesting resource and might be useful to others, so I thought I'd post it here. This link is to a tool for estimating time of death, according to the Method of Henssge. It is based on temperature and puts into account various environmental factors including clothing. Check it out.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Your Truth: Dementia and Grief

I apologize, once again, for my on-going silence on this blog. I've received a number of emails from readers encouraging me to post again. I appreciate the dedicated interest in this blog from my readers.

I recently attended a fascinating lecture on dementia and grief. Inspired by this lecture, I am going to pose a hypothetical scenario for your consideration. As per my standard format, after the scenario, I am going to ask some questions and will later post my response to the scenario.

Mrs. Horton is an 86 year old with middle stage dementia. She is no longer able to recognize family members nor dress herself. She is able to walk, using a walker, and frequently gets lost in the hallways of her nursing home.

Mrs. Horton's 61 year old son recently died of heart attack. Prior to his death, her son had come to visit her in the nursing home at least three times every week. Mrs. Horton was informed repeatedly of her son's death, but she does not have the short-term memory to retain this information. She asks where her son is multiple times every day.

1. Do you repeatedly inform Mrs. Horton that her son died, even though this news is distressing to her? Would telling her the truth be retraumatizing her or banging her over the head with the news?

2. Understanding that disclosing this news can be distressing to both Mrs. Horton and to the bearer of this news, what are some different ways you might respond to her repeated request for her son?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Thank You, Blue H News!

Originally uploaded by miaadams.
I have been rather neglectful of this blog as of late. Despite my silence, I am delighted to report that Blue H News picked up one of my blog posts and published it in the January 2007 issue of their newspaper.

Thanks so much for the press, Blue H News!