<- Home <- Arhive <- Vol. 25, Issue 3, September 2017

Rom J Leg Med25(3)303-308(2017)
© Romanian Society of Legal Medicine

The cremation-burial dilemma: opinions of future health professionals

S. Morar, E. Topîrcean, I. Peteanu

Abstract: The socio-economic realities (in particular, the overcrowding of cemeteries) require a moral-critical appreciation on the opportunity of introducing cremation in Romania, a country that lacked experience in this funeral procedure throughout its history. Our survey (conducted with the help of a questionnaire applied to 745 students from the medical field) showed that cremation has its supporters: two-thirds of respondents basically agree with its implementation, and over a third would personally opt for cremation; in circumstances where there would be a crematorium in their vicinity almost half would opt for this procedure. Especially people coming from urban areas, of Orthodox religion (particularly non-practitioners of this religion), incline to choose cremation. The majority of respondents decided on the acceptability of religious memorial service for those who choose cremation, believing that this option is not a sin. Nearly three-quarters of those questioned expressed the wish to decide themselves upon the burial procedure applied to them. Motivational analysis of the choice for cremation showed its secular, socio-economic and psychological substrate, while its refusal is based mainly on grounds of religious beliefs and a willingness to abide by the tradition. Only a small proportion of respondents believe that Romanian society is ready for the generalization of incineration. Their general opinion is that the implementation of this funeral procedure in Romania is premature, being conditioned by resolving the ethical dilemma to which we call our attention, but also by the emergence of additional legal regulations in the field.
Keywords: cremation, burial, ethical dilemma, survey, medical students.

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