The Learning To Die Podcast

#24: Professor Seamus O’ Mahony, Can Medicine be Cured?

January 11, 2022

In this episode we are joined by Professor Seamus O’Mahony. Seamus is a doctor and prize-winning author. He worked for many years in the NHS, returning to his native city of Cork in 2001, where he was a gastroenterologist and clinical professor until February 2020. His first book The Way We Die Now won the British Medical Association’s council chair’s choice award in 2017. His second book Can Medicine be Cured?  was published in 2019, and his latest book The Ministry of Bodies was published by Head of Zeus in March 2021. He is a regular contributor to the Dublin Review of Books and the Medical Independent. He has written also for The Observer, the Irish Times, the Irish Independent, and the Saturday Evening Post. He is a member of the Lancet commission on “The Value of Death” and is visiting professor at the Centre for the Humanities and Health at King’s College London.

In this episode, we discuss Seamus’s work around academia in science and medicine and aspects of death in our culture.

Here are some links to items or people we discussed

Robert Maxwell and academic journals

The Lancet Commission on death

The McNamara fallacy  

Documentary, The Fog of War watch here for free

Inverse care law

The book called “To be a machine”

The Peril of Politicizing Science – A Scientist’s Take

What is medical humanities

Ivan Dominic Illich was a Roman Catholic priest, theologian, philosopher, and social critic.[1] His 1971 book Deschooling Society criticizes modern society's institutional approach to education, an approach that constrains learning to narrow situations in a fairly short period of the human lifespan. His 1975 book Medical Nemesis, importing to the sociology of medicine the concept of medical harm, argues that industrialized society widely impairs quality of life by over medicalizing life, pathologizing normal conditions, creating false dependency, and limiting other more healthful solutions.

Free article on his work medical nemesis


Books by Seamus

The way we die

Can medicine be cured?

Seamus will be coming back in February or March to discuss the Lancet report on the value of death.

Contact Seamus or find out more at

Check us out at  for all episodes and links to the YouTube video versions. The YouTube version of this episode has a video and some slides.

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