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Prof Owen Morgan taught us how to accept death

Published:Friday | October 16, 2020 | 12:09 AM


A few weeks before Professor Owen Morgan died he telephoned me and told me he was dying. He was calling to say goodbye. It was a shocking and unusual call from a friend. Prof told me about his diagnosis and I encouraged him to have surgery. He said surgery had 15 per cent chance of success. In his view it was not worth it. Owen, as a neurologist, read widely and was fully aware of his serious condition. He was prepared and ready for death.

Prof Morgan was a strong man in the face of death. He was realist and accepted his imminent demise. He was brave in the face of this last great enemy, called death. He faced it with courage.

Too often, even for Christians, the cry for miraculous healing when someone is terminally ill is not necessarily great faith in God but rather being scared of death, an unwillingness to embrace our mortality and God’s purpose in death. Owen Morgan has taught us how to handle a diagnosis that speaks to our death as the most rational outcome.

In the face of death he was thankful to his immediate family, especially his wife Paulette of 47 years. He was also pleased how his students were giving him the best medical attention and prognosis. I prayed with him over the telephone and he said thanks.

In 2012, I met Prof Morgan when he chaired the Minister of Health’s Ethics Committee with such calmness and competence. We developed a bond. We talked about current affairs, University of the West Indies, his time of study in Dublin, Ireland, Christianity and his favourite sermons.

As a neurologist, Prof Owen Morgan taught his students how to save lives, and as a humane being he taught us how to accept death.