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[Comment] Lancet Commission on the Value of Death

Without death every birth would be a tragedy. “We die so that others may live, we grow old so that others may be young”, writes the poet Kate Tempest.1 Yet medicine continues to strive to keep patients with life-limiting illnesses alive, often beyond the point of benefit. Many people in high-income countries, and those in poorer countries who are able to access quality health care, have an uneasy relationship with death, unlike some traditional societies.2 Serious people hold out the prospect of immortality,3 while dying baby boomers want as long a life as possible, symptom control, and a personalised death—a combination that may be unachievable.

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