Thanatológiai Szemle

elektronikus folyóirat


VII. évfolyam



Dear Reader,

I think our latest issue is really coming out in the spirit of multi-colored ambitions which was often proclaimed by the editors, since its content encompasses psychological and sociological articles as well as medical-historical and ethnographical studies and thus strongly represents the wide extension of thanathological domains. So, I might offer it confidently for all those willing to become acquainted with this field from many aspects and for those as well who take pleasure in this polyhistor kind of mental effort.

Last time you had the occasion to take delight in the poems of Éva Bánki. This time our reader proves in the genre of prose that it is worth to pay attention to her, since her fascinating language and deep thoughts indicates one of the most gifted writers of contemporary Hungarian literature. Her first novel Raintown which we would like to recommend to our every reader’s attentions had come to light recently and it proved to be successful. The work we publish in our journal is the novella transcript of a part of the novel which flashes a monumental, generations encompassing story through the freely flowing sequence of sentences in the narration weaved of memories.

Zsuzsa Török and Péter Szeverényi, the psychologist-gynecologist author doubles raise the attention on the fact that in case of oncological diseases affecting genital organs there is not enough mention made of sexual problems that greatly influence the relations of the patient and thus might decrease the chance to psychically fight the disease and find the way back to everyday life. But if we talk about issues concerning cancer and sexuality without taboos simple information can be many times enough to put intimate intercourses which are led by misconceptions and anxiety back to their deserved place and for the patients to regain their often damaged sexual identity.

To be balanced and feel good is not only important for the patients but it is an influencing factor in the everyday work of the professional staff dealing with them. The general condition of the co-workers of hospices dealing with incurable patients is worth special attention because of their psychically burdening tasks, thus regulations determining the operation principles of hospice institutes do also give stress on this. However, the well-known difficult situation of Hungarian health care institutes and naturally all human factors can influence the practical realization of these principles, so occasional survey on the assumed problems can be very useful to determine the tasks to be solved. Veronika Sipiczki’s representative general condition survey, which emphasizes positive and negative aspects as well can be directive for all professionals who consider optimal conditions of the inner operation of hospice-teams important.

This time we offer inspection for our readers who are interested in historical issues on rescue-history, a specialty that was inequitably disregarded until now. Gábor Debrődi himself used to take active part in the work of the Hungarian National Ambulance and Emergency Service as an ambulance officer and researches the past of this specialty as a historian as well. He analyzes the historical issues of reanimation, the most important task of rescuing. The fact which is considered evident today that by means of restarting the operation of breathing and circulation within a certain time period lives can be saved was outlined only in the second half of the 18th century and it needed almost two centuries of struggling for the modern rescue-profession to take it as a routine practice. The development of insufflation respiration, the more and more perfect evolvement of aids for that, the recognition of the importance of cardiac massage and the process of creation of reanimating equipments shows a long, consecutive chain of experiences. Those who wish to see the tools which are told about in the study are proposed to visit the exhibition in the Kresz Géza Ambulance Museum.

Our Data Depot column is enriched with another ethnographic collection. Gábor Czank shouldered the task to collect the burial customs in his native village, Magyarpécska in Arad County. He systematizes burial rituals of the Hungarian inhabitants in the village with an all-out thoroughness from preparation to death until funeral ceremony. This is a very important task since changes can be recognized in the arch of remembrance of the elderly, although fortunately strong respect of traditions and community control preserves traditions in a relatively intact way.

In the name of the editors I wish every Reader a pleasant and useful pastime!

Ildikó Horányi
senior editor




The Day of Butterflies



In the mirror of our losses: disposition disorders and sexual disorders in oncology patients

Working at an oncology ward we do more and more endeavor today to promote the patient’s fitting back to work and society. In the same time we barely deal with family relationships that can be altered by the disease and with emerging sexual problems. Nevertheless we see every day: uncertainty, fear and anxiety leave their marks on the patient’s way of thinking and on his/her social life as well. When the disease affects genital organs this takes an effect directly on sexuality. It is very difficult for our patients to talk about it since cancer and intimacy are taboos even separately. These two topics together form a double obstacle which the patient can not overtake without outer assistance. The authors provide with a syllabus on disposition disorders and sexual function disorders that accompany cancer diseases affecting the genital organs and about their frequency. In order to reduce the ratio of sexually totally inactive population the professional staff has to make the first step towards opened discussion of sexual problems among cancer patients. The article wishes to provide with help in this as well by introducing the elements of effective preventive sexual counseling.


Workers’ general condition’s survey among people working in hospices

The study - based on representative sampling - publishes the results of the survey concerning the general condition of those working in institutes in Hungary that provide active hospice care, and which gives the clear image that characterizes these collectives. It examines the availability of training possibilities, the extent of the need for those, the informal relationship between the worker and the organization, the atmosphere of the workplace, the assuring of workers’ general condition by the workplace and the co-workers. It touches upon the presence and importance of hierarchic relationships, the workers’ sense of responsibility for their work, the level of their self-esteem, and it also examines which reasons can lead to the thought of workplace-shifting. Overall, the results of the survey show a positive image concerning high ethical level, love of the job and the workers who are wedded to their job in spite of the health care system’s many difficulties. However it points out some problems (e.g. needs concerning the education system, overburdening, lack of financial esteem, etc.) that should be solved in the near future.


The history of artificial respiration and reanimation methods in Hungary from the age of enlightened despotism until the 1960-ies, the formation of local modern science of ambulance (oxyology)

The study discusses a less known part of medical history which includes emergency health care provision for patients in acute life-danger and the development and periods of rescue-history in Hungary. Since the second half of the 18th century as reviving on the spot became more and more frequent the practice of airway-provision - according to the era’s technical level - was present. But what is more important: the age recognized the legal and moral obligation of life-saving and some of the age’s notabilities have made an attempt to start public education on health care for ordinary people. In the 19th century a series of respiration techniques have come to light and reanimation started to become integral part of Hungarian and international medical practice. Beside reanimation protocols, respiration tools which were developed at the end of the century and the beginning of the 20th century were also important, because the use of these - even if it was of lower efficacy - has added to the perfection of the tools’ practical design. The real revolutionary innovations were done after the 2nd World War, in the second half of the 1950-ies. Further development didn’t manifest in the further perfection of techniques and equipment park but in the change of paradigm which led to the rise of the practice of modern reanimation in its present form: which is based on the principle of simultaneous provision of circulation and respiration and its consistent use.



Funeral customs in Pécska and its environs

Due to the thorough, all-out collection work we can get acquainted with the funeral rites, burial folk customs, body of beliefs of the Hungarian inhabitants of Magyarpécska, a multi-national village in Arad County in Transylvania. From preparation to death, through vigil until funeral rites we can follow the lives of the village’s inhabitants and we can take a look into the customs of its Romanian habitants as well. The respect of traditions among village dwellers, the moral drives to be wedded with customs - although many times with the loss of the original meaning - preserved the folk customs that are characteristic to the region in a relatively archaic form, but we can also witness that in the distance of about three generations more or less changes and adjustments to the altered way of life can be detected.