The NHS: there when you really need it?BMJ 1996; 313 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.313.7052.308 (Published 03 August 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:308
- Alan Ferris
I first got to know George (not his real name) after his treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He had gone blind once and had to have emergency radiotherapy for a secondary deposit in his visual cortex. Like many patients, he was an uncomplaining soul who wanted to know more about his diagnosis and prognosis. I answered his questions as fully as I could but, like many people, he found the uncertainty hard to cope with. He accepted that I was not hiding things from him and was telling him the truth as fully as I could.
Over the weeks and months I learnt more about how he had coped first with his coronary artery bypass grafts, how he had looked after his wife who had died of cancer, and how he was coping with his children who had been in their mid-teens when all this had happened. Unfortunately, he began to deteriorate and started taking more and more drugs to control his symptoms. His dexamethasone was increased and he …