dr Kathryn Mannix, from Northumberland, specializes in palliative care and end-of-life care and believes death is a ‘process’ that mirrors birth and is likely to be quite relaxing for most
A retired end-of-life doctor has revealed what really happens when you die.
dr Kathryn Mannix, from Northumberland, specializes in palliative care and end-of-life care and describes the transition to death as a ‘process’ that mirrors birth.
She’s used her 30 years in the profession to inspire her to write books, With the End in Mind and Listen, and believes when the time comes it “probably won’t be as bad as you’re expecting.”
dr Mannix strives to break the taboo surrounding the subject and encourage people to talk more about dying.
She said the whole journey becomes a lot easier for the person nearing the end of their life and their family when everything is more open – including the language chosen.
Speaking of a short film for BBC Ideas, she said: “In my humble opinion, dying is probably not as bad as you expect.
“We have lost the rich wisdom of ordinary human dying and it is time for us to speak about dying and reclaim the wisdom.
“Dying, like giving birth, is really just a process. Gradually people are getting more and more tired.
“Over time, people sleep more and are less awake.”
She has seen her own patients slip in and out of consciousness as they near the end, often waking up saying they “slept well.”
dr Mannix said it’s clear that in such scenarios it generally “doesn’t feel scary” and is often quite relaxing for the patient.
What’s called a “death rattle” is actually a sign that someone is “deeply relaxed” and “so deeply unconscious they don’t feel that salivating as air rushes in and out.”
“At the end of a person’s life there will be a period of shallow breathing and then an exhalation that just won’t be followed by another inhalation,” she said.
“Sometimes it’s so gentle that families don’t even realize it happened.”
She continued, “Normal human dying is just a really gentle process, something we can recognise, something we can prepare for, something we can manage.
“And that should be something we can celebrate.
“We should be able to comfort each other with that.
“But because it’s become rude to talk about dying, it really is the best kept secret in medicine.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/end-life-doctor-reveals-what-27198333 'End of Life' doctor reveals what happens when we die is 'best kept secret in medicine'