Family historyBMJ 2002; 325 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.325.7372.1112 (Published 09 November 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:1112
- Simon P Stephenson, on sabbatical (email@example.com)
A box on the cremation form requests a “description or occupation” of the deceased, an apparent anachronism in these days of DNA fingerprinting and mass unemployment.
In the first enthusiastic flushes of work, however, I tried to be meticulous about that box. If there was no occupational history in the patient's records, I would ask the nurses; sometimes they had listened to the patient's reminisces. Occasionally, when bereaved families seemed anxious to talk about their late relative, I could ask them directly. It rarely otherwise seemed appropriate, though, and consequently I often found myself writing “Retired” in the box.
Another month found me more pragmatic about the box: the quickest of glances through the notes became all that was …