Reviews PERSONAL VIEWS

I dread not death but dying

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.327.7408.237 (Published 24 July 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:237
  1. Brian Allt, psychologist and media research consultant
  1. Sudbury, Suffolk

    I have long held the view that we must change our attitudes to prolonging life longer than is wished for or economically sensible, a view reinforced by an article in the Independent last November by Jane Feinmann describing how a leading cancer specialist with a tumour refused treatment that he routinely referred his patients for.


    Embedded Image

    Thomas Braithwaite of Ambleside (d 1607) making his will, English School, 17th century

    Credit: ABBOT HALL ART GALLERY, KENDAL/BAL

    It is ridiculous that such a huge part of the NHS budget is spent on elderly people in their last year of life. I am 75. I chain smoke and drink a bit too much. I have atrial fibrillation, a much reduced vital capacity, and asthma. Forty years of spondylosis means that I have long needed anti-inflammatory drugs and chiropractic treatment. Add touchy gut and irritable bowel syndrome and the result is that I take 14 different drugs at five different times each …

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