When Death Is Not A Failure

During the event in Putrajaya last September 30th at Hospital Putrajaya, I was the second speaker. The first speaker was from palliative care team. She did a wonderful job of introducing palliative care. She also presented one case study regarding one of her patient. The patient had advanced cancer and was managed well till his demise. One of the participants asked her why the cases that she presented were depressing.

“Any successful case?”, she asked. She then go on asking for cases with a happy ending.  I let the first speaker answer and remained quiet.

After her talk, It was my turn. I take my time to discuss this issue.

“Is death a failure?”, I asked. The audience simply remained quiet and somewhat stunted.

“Death is a part of life”, I continued. “Doctor die, parents, teachers, religious scholar, king and even prophet died.”

Death has always been a great mystery that is still unraveled until today. When, how and why? The questions we all ask about death that remains unanswered in so many ways.

Regardless of any particular belief system, the truth remains that death is already the end of life or at least as we know it.

“We are all going to die” I added.

I then go on telling them that I wanted to become a doctor to save a life. Watching a lot of movies and dramas, seeing healthcare worker savings life after life felt very satisfying and fulfilling life. The impression remained with me even after I became a doctor. So you can imagine if one of my patients died, I will feel somewhat angry, disbelief and sometimes feeling doubt if I am a good doctor or not.

Then I started to realize that death itself is not always a failure. Seeing patient who is mobile, full of expression and even their smile worth more. There are times that we wanted to cure illness whenever possible. But then, let’s imagine if the illness incurable or carry a high rate of mortality. Improving patient’s quality of life for the remaining of their time is much more a success than we can imagine. From treating their pain, making them able to eat, speak, walk, hug, laugh is much much more satisfying than simply giving medications and hoping for a cure.

We, human beings are totally powerless to counter or defeat death. Our greatest efforts to keep ourselves from the grave eventually end in failure. We all die.

So is death a failure?. It is a natural way of life and all we can do is live till there is life. It is better worn out than rusted.





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