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Blacher, R.S. (1983). Death, Resurrection, and Rebirth: Observations in Cardiac Surgery. Psychoanal Q., 52:56-72.

(1983). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 52:56-72

Death, Resurrection, and Rebirth: Observations in Cardiac Surgery

Richard S. Blacher, M.D.


In recent years cardiac resuscitation and cardiac surgery have added a new dimension to the universal fantasy of life after death: the patients' concept that they die in reality and are reborn or resurrected. This study is based on pre- and postoperative psychiatric interviews with cardiac patients. The case vignettes presented appear to show that fantasies of death and resurrection can influence the patients' ability to undergo necessary surgery. Their defensive immortality-formations are discussed in terms of Freud's speculations concerning the human being's difficulty in accepting death as an end to life.

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