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Death is not as bad as you think, says end-of-life doctor

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Death is not as bad as you think, says end-of-life doctor

A retired end-of-life doctor has revealed what she believes really happens when people die, saying it's "probably not as bad as you're expecting". Dr Kathryn Mannix, from Northumberland, specialises in palliative and end-of-life care, and is seeking to break down taboos and encourage people to talk more about death.

Dr Kathryn Mannix has revealed what it's like to die

BBC Dr Kathryn Mannix has revealed what it's like to die

Dr Mannix, who has worked in the profession for 30 years and has written books on the subject, believes the whole process of dying is much easier for the person at the end of their life and their families if everything is more upfront, including the language used, the Mirror reports. 

Speaking to a short film for BBC Ideas, she said: "In my humble opinion, dying is probably not as bad as you’re expecting. We’ve lost the rich wisdom of normal human dying and it’s time for us to talk about dying and reclaim the wisdom.

“Dying, like giving birth, really is just a process. Gradually people become more tired, more weary. As time goes by people sleep more and they’re awake less.”

Dr Mannix said end-of-life patients will often say they've had a "good sleep" as they slip in and out of consciousness, and the process "doesn't feel frightening". She said the so-called "death rattle" is actually a sign someone is "deeply relaxed" and "so deeply unconscious they are not feeling that tickle of saliva as their air bubbles in and out".

Dr Mannix said: "At the very end of somebody’s life there will be a period of shallow breathing and then one out breath that just isn’t followed by another in breath. Sometimes it’s so gentle that families don’t even notice that it’s happened.

"Normal human dying is just a really gentle process, something we can recognise, something we can prepare for, something we can manage. And this should be something we can celebrate.

"This is something we should be able to console each other with. But because it’s become impolite to talk about dying it’s the really best kept secret in medicine." 

Reference: Hull Live: Ryan Merrifield & Chris Attridge

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