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BMJ 1998; 317 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.317.7173.1667 (Published 12 December 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:1667
  1. Martin Wildman, specialist registrar
  1. Midlands

    Inever knew Jimmy when he was alive; I met him through the things he left behind. I became acquainted with him a few days after he had died as I was writing his discharge summary.

    This is a sort of quality of care that is not easily measurable

    Jimmy had fallen on hard times. I pieced this much together from the notes, not that I sought it out, but I somehow dropped my guard. He had lost his job and he had lost his wife. The notes did not tell me which came first. He was actively looking for work. I knew this because his job seeker record, which had been in his pocket when he had been taken ill, was now stuffed in the back of his notes. A faltering painstaking scrawl recorded his daily round of disappointment. “Hayward's machine tools—still nothing will try again next week.” I learnt that the constant disappointment was getting him down, the admission …

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