ErnestBMJ 2002; 325 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.325.7367.773 (Published 05 October 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:773
- J P B O'Connor, senior house officer, department of urology.
- Pinderfields General Hospital, Wakefield
I first met Ernest at the end of a busy surgical clinic. From his pallor and gaunt features I suspected that he might be terminally ill. He looked about 80 years old rather than his real age of 60. He complained of an inability to swallow food, breathlessness, and weight loss. I admitted him for urgent investigation, and an abdominal computed tomogram revealed inoperable gastric cancer with multiple metastases. He deteriorated and was referred for palliative care.
Ernest was an old fashioned sort, well mannered and courteous, quietly spoken, and above …