Bereavement: Including Some Iatrogenic Aspects of Grief
The sorrow of parting, unless brief, is not at all sweet, in my experience. I can reflect that while a parting is not as final as a death, it may yet prepare me for the grief associated with death. An understanding of the grief associated with separation should be a topic included in medical education, because the implications of grief for the medical profession are widespread. The painstaking work of John Bowlby (1953) and Colin Murray Parkes (1972) made clear that the loss of separation provokes similar symptoms, whether the loss is temporary—as when a mother leaves her child in the hospital—or permanent, as when a person suffers a bereavement. Other losses, too, cause suffering similar to that of bereavement, although close observations have shown some differences in detail. In disregarding these differences, I meet objections of over-inclusiveness with the plea that this does at least provide an opportunity to review some of our medical practices. Any baby can expect feeding and stimulation from his mother. Good-enough mothering promotes tolerance of brief absences of the mother, but prolonged separation is associated with certain changes in the child, which were described graphically by Bowlby and portrayed in a series of moving films made by the Robertsons (1967–1976).
KeywordsWard Staff Somatic Effect Family Accommodation Tactile Hallucination Psychosocial Experience
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