Elizabeth Kubler-Ross: Early Years

                                                                            “There are no mistakes, no coincidences.
All events are blessings given to us to learn from”.
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Elisabeth Kubler-RossElisabeth Kubler-Ross is one of the most prominent psychiatrists and medical doctors of the XX century. All of her life she has been studying the problems of dying with dignity, the problems of terminally ill people, and these researches resulted in publishing a landmark book, On Death and Dying, which was based on her practical experiences and became a bestseller. She is also known as “Mother of Hospice”, who contributed a lot into public transformation of seeing death and the process of dying.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross was born in July 1926, in Zurich, Switzerland, and was one of the triplets. In the beginning of the World War II Elisabeth became a volunteer for working in the hospitals, and this experience helped her to discover her vocation: medicine. After the war she entered medical school in the University of Zurich and graduated from it in 1957. A year later she moved to the United States of America.

In New York Kubler-Ross continued her studies and started practicing in the hospitals, dealing mostly with terminally ill people. Life and social traditions seemed to be very different in the USA than those in Europe, and the young doctor was impressed with the standard way of treatment of hopeless patients. She could see that doctors were almost refusing to provide them with care. Thus, Elisabeth started getting interested in ethical and psychological problems of facing death.

In 1963 she completed education in the University of Colorado and received a degree in psychiatry. Working in Medical Center in Denver, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross interviewed hundreds of terminally ill patients, studying their perception of death, as well as their mental and psychological contradictions. She used to combine this work with giving lectures in Colorado Medical School and sharing her discoveries with the students, encouraging them not to feel uncomfortable when confronting and providing medical treatment for terminally ill people.

To illustrate her findings and concepts, she used to invite her patients right to the seminars in the Medical School. Old or young people, who were getting ready to meet the death, shared their experiences and thoughts with future doctors. This way Kubler-Ross tried to promote the idea of learning more about death: “For those who seek to understand it, death is a highly creative force. The highest spiritual values of life can originate from the thought and study of death.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *