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Arch Hellen Med, 33(Supplement 1), 2016, 7-12


A question hovers over western society: When should its members die?

Ι.D.K. Dimoliatis
Unit for Quality of Life and Death, Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, University of Ioannina, Ioannina, Greece

To whom the tribute "when should we die" (WSWD) is addressed? To those the answer of which is not "never." The (correct) question "when?" replaces the (wrong) demand of the era: "we should never die" ("forbidden death"). Is when the quality of life switches from positive to negative the right time to welcome death? (good death; mature, neither premature nor post-mature). Archbishop Eugenios Voulgaris stated "when my destiny will come, which meek and unperturbed I wait, I consent to have a good death" (Treatise on Euthanasia, 1804). In his era, the "when" was coincident with "how". Nowadays? The end-of-life dilemmas remain. Longtime carers of incurably ill patients may have a clearer idea of when the death should be welcomed: they have experienced at first hand the World Health Organization famous definition of health, from which, unfortunately, death is absent (isn't death a part of healthy life?) Eight people, the paths of which had previously crossed, met together for one and a half hour on November 22, 2014, to probe "when". First, they posed openly the question ("the journey of hope", K. Vazouras) and the prerequisites for a correct answer ("arrogance or acceptance?", A. Prokopiou), and contributed the response of Gospels (father S. Atmatzidis), philosophers (A. Kerasidou), law (E. Maragkaki), history (S. Geroulanos), society (K. Gatsiou), and their own (I. Dimoliatis). The audience added their touches. A place to Poetry was (a posteriori) offered (K. Cavafy). Waiting readers' response. D. Sideris started with his own contribution (our three Egos: their birth and their death).

Key words: Caregiver, Euthanasia, Good death, Living will, Premature/mature/postmature death, Self-care, When should Ι die (WSΙD), When should we die (WSWD).

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