Filler A memorable patient

Mountain power

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.317.7153.276 (Published 25 July 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:276
  1. Olive McKendrick, retired paediatrician
  1. Liverpool.

    Mark's cystic fibrosis was not diagnosed until he was 9 years old. When I first knew him, five years later, he already had advanced lung disease and was small for his age. Mark hated being small. He saw himself as “the little lad with the cough,” a description he had once inadvertently overheard. Nevertheless, at this time, he had ambitions for his future and was extremely articulate about them, as indeed he was about everything.

    After sitting his GCSEs at 16, Mark was longing for the sixth form. Sadly, he never made it. Instead he spent his last two and a half years mainly at home during which time he had to face all his aspirations, one by one, going out through the window as he became progressively more ill, chair bound, and eventually oxygen dependent. Despite …

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