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Not Taught in Med School: Interpreting Dreams of the Dying
A hospice doctor's TEDx Talk about his research on end-of-life dreams
April 11, 2016
By Emily GurnonHealth & Caregiving Editor
When Dr. Christopher Kerr was a young physician, he visited a patient he calls Tom, who was very ill. Outside the room, Kerr told a nurse they could try antibiotics — that Tom had more time.
“Nope, he’s dying,” the nurse replied, without even looking up.
How did she know? Kerr asked.
“Because he’s seen his deceased mother,” the nurse said.
Kerr, chief medical officer at Hospice Buffalo in New York, discovered he needed to learn more about what end-of-life experiences meant.
He then led a research team from the Palliative Care Institute in Cheektowaga, N.Y. in a long-term study on dreams and visions in the dying. Based on extensive interviews with people who were dying, they examined what their dreams and visions consisted of, whether they perceived them as positive or negative and whether the dreams might serve as a predictor of when death would come.
In October 2015, after the results were published, Kerr gave a TEDx Talk about this for an audience at Asbury Hall at Babeville, in downtown Buffalo.
For details on what the researchers found, read this Next Avenue story,
“What the Dreams of the Dying Teach Us About Death.”
Or watch the TEDx Talk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbnBe-vXGQM
Hospice patient shares artwork one final time
by Jill Perkins
HAMBURG, N.Y. (WKBW) - Geri Mormile's artwork is as beautiful as she is.
"We have just a short time on this earth and I think you should do as much as you can, make the most of the time you have here."
At 85-years-old, Mormile's time in this world is coming to an end.
"Though I accept that I am dying, my end I am defying, as my fingers are still flying," Mormile wrote in a poem. "I'll paint as long as I can, I'm not ever done until I can't lift my arm to do it anymore."
Mormile is a patient of Hospice Buffalo and that's where she'll show off her paintings one final time. The name of this exhibit? Read more
A New Vision for Dreams of the Dying
Feb. 2, 2016
By Jan Hoffman
One evening in the late fall, Lucien Majors, 84, sat at his kitchen table, his wife Jan by his side, as he described a recent dream.
Mr. Majors had end-stage bladder cancer and was in renal failure. As he spoke with a doctor from Hospice Buffalo , he was alert but faltering.
In the dream, he said, he was in his car with his great pal, Carmen. His three sons, teenagers, were in the back seat, joking around.
“We’re driving down Clinton Street,” said Mr. Majors, his watery, pale blue eyes widening with delight at the thought of the road trip.
“We were looking for the Grand Canyon.” And then they saw it. “We talked about how amazing, because there it was — all this time, the Grand Canyon was just at the end of Clinton Street!”
Mr. Majors had not spoken with Carmen in more than 20 years. His sons are in their late 50s and early 60s.
“Why do you think your boys were in the car?” asked Dr. Christopher W. Kerr, a Hospice Buffalo palliative care physician who researches the therapeutic role of patients’ end-of-life dreams and visions.
“My sons are the greatest accomplishment of my life,” Mr. Majors said.
He died three weeks later.
For thousands of years, the dreams and visions of the dying have captivated cultures, which imbued them with sacred import. Anthropologists, theologians and sociologists have studied these so-called deathbed phenomena. They appear in medieval writings and Renaissance paintings, in Shakespearean works and set pieces from 19th-century American and British novels, particularly by Dickens. One of the most famous moments in film is the mysterious deathbed murmur in “Citizen Kane”: “Rosebud!”
Even the law reveres a dying person’s final words, allowing them to be admitted as evidence in an unusual exception to hearsay rules.
Read more at http://nyti.ms/1rS8fA1