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SYMPOSIUM ON END OF LIFE CARE
Year : 2011  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 125-128

The death of Ivan Ilych: A blueprint for intervention at the end of life


1 Department of Anesthesiology, Division of Critical Care, Trauma, and Burn, The Ohio State University Medical Center, 410 West 10th Street, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA
2 Department of Surgery, Division of Critical Care, Trauma, and Burn, The Ohio State University Medical Center, 410 West 10th Street, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA

Correspondence Address:
Thomas J Papadimos
Department of Anesthesiology, 410 West 10th Street, Columbus, Ohio 43210
USA
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2229-5151.84798

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Medical practice and the field of humanities frequently intersect. It is uncanny how problems presented or described in literature that are several hundred years old still present themselves to us on a regular basis. Often, our answers to these dilemmas are not perfect, but we continue our attempts at providing solutions through an enlightened evolution of our thought and approaches. Leo Tolstoy's novella, The Death of Ivan Ilych, is a classic piece of literature that allows a view of the dying process in an ordinary human being, and presents us with an opportunity to observe, not only the intersection of medicine and humanities, but also that of critical care and palliative medicine. Here Tolstoy, through his keen observation of the human condition at the end of life, allows us an opportunity to view a 19 th century perspective that has an all too familiar persistence that needs a 21 st century intervention.


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