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Candidly written, On Death Without Dignity: The Human Impact of Technological Dying, attempts to re-humanize the inevitable biological occurrence called dying. It is Moller's view that through the advancement of medicalized technology, has come the demise of the contemporary dying process. The oncological death is reflected as failure in the part of modern medicine, the physician, and the hospital; yet the patient experiences alienation, stigma, helplessness, and normlessness. Yet as a culture the current societal approach to the dying—silent avoidance—only adds to this alienation. Society has failed to provide the necessary rules for this universal, social, and biological event.
Moller, an advocate for the dying, tells their story and seeks to reduce their socially enforced isolation. He stresses the importance of the inventing of social rules and behaviors for this social phenomenon of oncological dying. Social response must transform from this medicalized, technological state back to the natural, social experience it is and bring the suffering and tribulations of the dying out of the social deep freeze of isolation and silence.
Preface and Acknowledgments
Introductory Précis: Jack Elinson, Ph.D.
Technology, Meaning, and Death
Meaning of death or death of meaning
Death and Denial in Modern America
Technological Medicine, The Technocratic Physician and Human Dying
Individualism, Fellowship, and Dying
The non-communal environment
Dying and loss of fellowship
Modern Dying and Social Organization of the Hospital
The hospital as total institution
Patient alienation within the hospital
The Stigma of Dying
Identity problems: Beyond the looking-glass
The stigma of dying: Scenarios of personal terror
Sexuality and dying: Fertile ground for stigma
As the new self emerges
Approaching Omega: The Roller Coaster of Dying
The course of dying and societal forces
A Concluding Statement on Technology and the Social Isolation of Dying
A Methodological Note