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J Pain Symptom Manage. 2012 Sep;44(3):466-70. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2011.09.012. Epub 2012 Jun 9.

Till death do us part: getting married at the end of life.

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Department of Palliative Care and Rehabilitation Medicine, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


At the end of life, patients often reflect on the meaning of their lives and decide how to best take advantage of the remaining time to accomplish their life goals. We report the case of a patient with advanced cancer who got married in our acute palliative care unit weeks before her death. Our interdisciplinary team was able to support her physically and emotionally, thereby assisting her in achieving her life goals. The wedding gave her the opportunity to acquire further meaning in life, deepen her connection with her loved ones, and enhance her sense of dignity, self-worth, and pride. It also was associated with a significant improvement in her symptoms and had a positive effect on the health care team. This example illustrates the effectiveness of a palliative care team in helping patients to achieve their life goals and supporting their families during a time when two major life events, marriage and end of life, occur concurrently.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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