Thanatology Review

Electronic Journal


Volume 18

Number 1 · 2014

Short article


gyermekgyógyász, onkológus, hematológus szakorvos, palliatív orvos,
MHPE alelnök
Hospice és Palliatív Ellátás Szakmai Kollégiumi Tagozat elnök

Children’s hospice in Hungary

Abstract · The expansion of the institution of chidren’s hospice started in the world more than 30 years ago. The Trento agreement provides guidance on the European standards of institutionalised children’s hospice care, and today European Union directives also set the need to separate hospice care for adults and children. The basic care types (end-of-life care, palliative services, discharge services, transit care and daily services) are all well defined and they all have to be equally available for every child in hospitals, in hospice houses and in their homes alike, taking possible focus into consideration. These services can function in the world only with significant non-governmental support, but public intervention, the presence of health care professionals and care services are also indispensable to perform safe work in a proper quality. In Hungary, children’s hospice care is present, and although it is lagging a few decades behind, the results of the past few years are promising. Civil society is resolute, professional acknowledgement has strengthened, and a shift in mindset has started in both aspects. We hope that in line with these processes, state aid and public intervention will also become more prominent.



What did I learn from the deaths of Violetta Valéry and Ivan Ilyich?

Abstract · The key element of therapeutic thinking and effective support is the continuous study of countertransference, regardless of psychological trends and schools. During my self-analysis, I recall the patterns of parental behaviour and the mimesis of my ancestors I have never seen. Then I recall opera heroes and heroines who were absorbed into my emotional life, and women who became saints as well. I mention some patient stories in connection with the importance and futility of system-based thinking, and the effects of encountering real and stage death as a child on my personality. I also mention how these effects are embedded in my personality when I am with my patients who have terminal illnesses. I intend to develop Nietzsche's phrase in the world of dreams, each man is a complete artist. I would like to observe how people can enter the sacred time and space by following the pattern of the numinous character on stage, if they are able to let go of the secret resentment. II would like to talk about reality in artistic ways and the importance of elevating reality into something artistic by the patiens.



Our everyday fear of death

Abstract · This writing is an autobiographically inspired lyrical confessionwithout any statistical data or scientific theses. I describe in a literary style how I met death for the first time half a century ago as a little girl from Göcsej (Hungary), furthermore the importance of my family in my accepting death and how this experience influenced my choice of vocation. Like everyone else, I also had to face my own fear of death and these struggles are still present in my life, since death and I are inseparable because of my profession. Social and demographical changes in the world, our life in the fast lane and centralisation make it impossible to shed death as taboo with all of itsnotions and facts . I also mention what questions about death everyday people meditate on; how I experience this issue in my profession; how my hospice colleagues face the fact of dying; what emotions the relatives of the dying go through; how the dying themselves experience the approach of death, and what circumstances would be ideal for them. There is no one-fits-all guidance, still at the end of my monologue I attempt to answer how this extremely heavy emotional burden could be eased and made more bearable.


filozófus, bioetikus

Death Café

- A new movement for promoting public discourse on death

Abstract · Over the past decades, more people have pointed out that citizens of the developed western world have difficulties in accounting with the finiteness of human life. In my writing, I describe some forms of public discourses on death that have occured over the last few years in contradiction to the tendency of treating death as a taboo. The so-called Death Café could be considered as a philosophical café specialised in questions on finiteness, dying and death. Death Café is an occasional or regular public gathering where everyday people have the opportunity to talk about questions related to death in a group. In addition, there are some Death Cafés that give opportunities explicitly to dying patients or people who experienced loss to reflect philosophically on the challenges of their lives.

At some point in life - sometimes in youth, sometimes late - each of us is due to awaken to our mortality. There are so many triggers: a glance in a mirror at your sagging jowls, graying hair, stooping shoulders; the march of birthdays, especially those round decades - fifty, sixty, seventy; meeting a friend you have not seen in a long while and being shocked at how he or she has aged; seeing old photographs of yourself and those long dead who peopled your childhood; encountering Mister Death in a dream. (Irvin D. Yalom: Staring at the Sun, 2008, p. 146.)