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The Bad News Bearers:
The Most Difficult Assignment in Law Enforcement

(Released May 2009)

  by Emil Moldovan  


Key Citations



Resources eLibrary Resources
eLibrary Resources
  1. Students sign yearbooks at Woodrow Wilson High School in Dallas. Classmates of Matthew Allen have remembered him . . .

    Students Charlie Morris, left, Jennifer Thompson, Casey Brown and Morgan Karlos sign yearbooks at Woodrow Wilson High School in Dallas. Classmates of Matthew Allen have remembered him through their school careers after he died in the seventh grade from AIDS.
    Andy Scott, 2001 Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service

  2. An earthquake survivor cries as she tells rescue workers to use . . .
    An earthquake survivor cries as she tells rescue workers to use their sniffer dogs to try to locate her family at the earthquake damaged town of Beichuan in Sichuan Province on May 17, 2008. Beichuan is one of the areas hit hardest by the quake, which has caused deaths across at least four provinces and regions. At least 1,000 Beichuan students and teachers were killed or buried in the collapse of the town's secondary school and up to 5,000 people in the area may have also been killed by the 7.9-magnitude quake
    Mark Ralston, 2008 AFP/Getty Images
  3. The brothers and sisters of Palestinian boys Mohammed and Akram . . .

    The brothers and sisters of Palestinian boys Mohammed and Akram Al-Astal, two of the five victims of a blast in Khan Younis refugee camp in southern Gaza Strip, sit after they were told about their brother's death, Thursday, November 22, 2001. Five Palestinian children, ages seven to 14, were killed on their way to school Thursday when a powerful explosion went off in the Gaza Strip refugee camp.
    Abdelrahman Al-khateeb, 2001 United Press International
Resources taken from Proquest's eLibrary
  1. Cherri Hobgood
    Associate Dean/Director, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    Death notification is a common, difficult, and emotionally laden communication . . . teaching and assessment tools focused on Death notification skills. OBJECTIVES: To test the hypothesis . . . , competency, and communication skills when delivering a Death notification.

  2. Jean Lake Holley
    Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    Form 2746, the Death notification form, is the primary source of data on cause of death . . . hundred twelve Death notification forms completed between January 1, 1993, and December 31, 2000, from . . . the patient died. Discontinuing dialysis therapy as noted on the Death notification form.

  3. Sarah Goodrum
    Assistant Professor of Sociology, Anthropology and Sociology, Centre College
    Bereaved victims' notification stories indicate . . . upset by dismissing the reality of the news of the death; the spontaneous action response allowed . . . the Death notification experience of people who have lost a loved one to murder ("bereaved victims . . . .

  4. Kenneth V. Iserson
    Professor Emeritus, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Arizona
    Death to Dust: What Happens to Dead Bodies? . . . Notifying survivors about sudden, unexpected deaths . . . The gravest words: sudden-Death notifications and emergency care.

  5. Heather L. Servaty-Seib
    Associate Professor, Department of Educational Studies, Purdue University
    Bereaved adolescents (N = 90) who had experienced relatively common death losses (e.g., grandparent . . . regarding preparation and follow-up associated with individual Death notification situations . . . , general Death notification, school culture), the clinical experience of the authors . . . .

Scholars taken from ProQuest's Community of Scholars


  1. The effect of two death education programs on emergency medical technicians

    by Smith-Cumberland, Tracy L., Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park, 2004, 154 pages

    Abstract (Summary)
    This study examined the changes in behavioral intent of EMTs in six EMS agencies in Wisconsin after exposure to 1 of 2 death education programs. The effectiveness of the programs was evaluated by a comparison of pretest and posttest scores on behavioral intent of on-scene death-related behaviors using non-equivalent control group design.

    One intervention group participated in a 2 day workshop using the Emergency Death Education and Crisis Training sm ( EDEC sm ) curriculum. A second intervention group participated in a 2 hour didactic Continuing Medical Education (CME) session on making death notifications. A third group served as a control group and participated in a 2 hour CME session not related to death. Prior to this research, no formal evaluations existed on the impact of these two programs.

    Ajzen's (1985) Theory of Planned Behavior was used to predict participant's death-related behavioral intentions, attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control towards a behavior. Evaluation included comparisons on multiple measures, which stemmed from the goals of the programs. Study results indicated that the majority of EMTs intend to change their behaviors at the scene of a death after receiving either training program. Changes were greatest for the group exposed to the EDECTsm curriculum.

    In addition to testing the hypothesis, several questions explored EMTs' attitudes toward their role on-scene and their previous death-related training. Analysis of these questions show that most EMTs feel that death notifications and helping bereft families are part of their roles as an EMT.

    The need for death-related programs to help emergency responders manage bereaved families and the lack of methodologically rigorous evaluation studies of such programs were the principal factors that led to this study. Although there were limitations suggesting caution when interpreting the results, the evaluation showed these programs to be effective in changing the behavioral intent of EMTs. The effectiveness of these programs on EMTs and other emergency providers warrants further study.

    For full-text documents see ProQuest's
    Dissertations & Theses Database

  2. Professional interventions with parents at the time of the sudden death of a child

    by Maxwell, Linda Susan Charlotte, Ph.D., Wilfrid Laurier University (Canada), 2000, 273 pages

    Abstract (Summary)
    The sudden death of a child is likely the most traumatizing event a parent can experience. Traumatic death, and particularly the death of a child, increases the risk of a complicated grieving process in mourners. Little has been written with respect to the interventions of professionals with parents at the time of a sudden death of a child. The present study examines the experiences of parents with a variety of professionals from the time of death notification through the funeral.

    Twenty parents who were involved in Bereaved Families of Ontario participated in this study. The purpose was to examine the impact of professional interventions on the grieving process of the parents. Qualitative inquiry was utilized with the heuristic aspect of the phenomenological approach using semi-structured, open-ended interviews. Thematic analysis was completed at two levels. The first identified three key themes in helping: the provision of instrumental assistance, compassion and information. The themes in grieving were the reconstruction of the death scene, issues of control and the assumptive world, saying good-bye, making sense of the death, and carrying the deceased child forward in a new world. The integration of these themes produced concrete ways of helping parents through the trauma, and facilitating a healthy grieving process. The conclusion of the study outlines the clinical implications of these significant findings.

    For full-text documents see ProQuest's
    Dissertations & Theses Database

  3. Physician communication of unexpected/traumatic death: An exploratory study

    by Childress, Susan Laurel, M.A., California State University, Stanislaus, 1997, 62 pages

    Abstract (Summary)
    Twenty-eight adults in the state of California whose loved ones had experienced an unexpected/traumatic death in the past seven years were queried about verbal and nonverbal communication with physicians during death notification. Survivors' responses were content analyzed into themes to determine what kind of impact, if any, this communication had on them. The results appeared to suggest that communication during this time of crisis does have impact, and that if physicians do not adopt a client-centered approach with survivors, these individuals may be affected with a greater sense of loss and isolation that could prolong grieving and, in some cases, guilt. Survivors also expressed preference and needs regarding such communication encounters. Further research might replicate the study using a larger sample, may focus on representatives from other death-telling professions, and might also examine differences between survivor perceptions of physician communication as it relates to gender, culture, or age.

    For full-text documents see ProQuest's
    Dissertations & Theses Database