Fillers A memorable patient

Beware ill relatives who request second opinions

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.324.7330.152 (Published 19 January 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:152
  1. David Fisher, former general physician
  1. Cardiff

    Against my better judgment, I was persuaded by two of my wife's elderly spinster aunts to examine their sister, another spinster. “She's just not right,” I was told by telephone. She arrived the following morning after a car journey of some 150 miles, and they had been correct—she was not right, she was in left heart failure. Subsequent examination in hospital also revealed that she had advanced syringomyelia and cancer of the breast, with widespread deposits. She died peacefully six days later. After passing on the sad news to the aunts, I was somewhat tartly told that she had willed her body to medical science, and would I kindly deal with it.

    Ella, for that was her name, proved difficult to deal with. Getting the correct forms signed and witnessed by her …

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