Experiencing body preparation after death: based on Maurice Merleau-Ponty


Human Body
Qualitative Research


Concerned as I was, I started to observe when the nursing staff members were closest to discomfort-generating situations while dealing with death; that is when I noticed that those moments initiated while preparing the body after death. A body that Merleau-Ponty links to being in the world; one’s own body, a lived body and from which one can exist in the world and relate to others and to things. This is a qualitative phenomenological study with assumptions based on existential phenomenology as a reference point. It was conducted in a public hospital in the city of São Paulo, in a medical and surgical clinic with nurses and nurses’ aides, from May to July 2008. The study presented three ontological unifications: the reflection of one’s self, the sense of continuity and the search for a new situation. This paper may foster other studies which will analyze this discomfort more in-depth, namely, “what it means for the nursing staff to prepare the body after death”.