A surprisingly good place to die


parkin-parkin-mosaic-dying-in-mongolia-lake

A heart warming story about how Mongolia is doing well in palliative care.

The hospital also offers patients what is known as “dignity therapy” – which my interpreter translated as “reputation treatment” – encouraging them to tell their life story before they pass away. It began as a way of dealing with patients suffering severe depression, she says, but then they found that other people wanted to tell their stories, to set the record straight. “We had a patient recently who asked his ex-wife to visit, so he could apologise for his past behaviour, and he gave her money too.”

Some palliative care patients have responded by drawing up ‘bucket lists’. During my visit, I met a woman with terminal cancer who had recently returned from a visit to Lake Baikal (the world’s deepest lake) in Siberia, just the other side of Mongolia’s border with Russia. With her week’s prescription of morphine tablets, she had been able to make a journey that had been “a lifetime ambition”.

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Mosaic

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Ice driving and horse-sled racing in remotest Mongolia


FT

In the spirit of the weekend, something for the adventurers.

Nobody dies. Nor do the Mongolian festival-goers let the weather cramp their style. We join them in their gers, partaking of their food and drink, feeling safely embedded in a culture where I have seen only four other foreigners in as many days. “Even a good racehorse is kept out in this weather,” says Dorjee, who chats in the blizzard with his friends like I might on a temperate summer day on an English high street. Children play in the storm like New York kids in a summer park. The sculptors are disappointed the weather has ruined their work, but otherwise, not a word of a whine. Not even from me when our flight back to UB is delayed. Instead I find myself wishing the airlines might be grounded for longer than a day.

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Sophy Roberts — FT

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