Wiser beyond their yearsBMJ 1998; 316 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.316.7133.774 (Published 07 March 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:774
- Olive M McKendrick, retired paediatrician
Karl was suffering from advanced cystic fibrosis and aged just 12 when he told a school friend that he was going to die. A few days later Karl was admitted to hospital and his absence from school led his friend to think this was because he had died. This information got back to Karl's mother who, feeling too upset to handle it, asked me if I would talk with him.
Karl was still in hospital when I received this request, so, picking a time when the ward was quiet, I asked him if he would like a talk. He said he would. I then asked him if he would like it here in bed or in my room. He …