Reviews Personal views

Listen to the voices

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: (Published 10 February 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:372
  1. Frederick Nenner, director of social work and member of ethics committee
  1. Lutheran Medical Centre, New York

    Education and debate p 352

    The nurses and doctors were of different minds about what they were seeing and what was to be done. Now it is over. It was not easy for any of us. It was hardest for the people who provided the direct care. Fifteen nurses and nursing aides have asked to talk with us, the members of the ethics committee: the doctor, pastor, social worker, the nurse. They ask how we could have let this happen.

    The nurses provided the care. Now they felt that they were starving this man

    By now we all know the story. An 84 year old man, a professional, a bachelor, self-contained, orderly, and self-assured, had used the 20 years of his retirement to see the things that we can only dream of seeing and had lived a life of health and vitality until the accident. With cane in hand he was taking his dog for a walk. The street was wet from morning rain. The dog pulled on the leash and the man tumbled too quickly to brace the fall with an arm …

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