Views & Reviews The Best Medicine

Breaking good news

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 31 October 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e7355
  1. Liam Farrell, general practitioner, Crossmaglen, County Armagh
  1. drfarrell{at}

“How long does granny have, doctor?”

“Only a few days,” I said. I was young and beautiful and too green to know that the wise clinician always fudges the prognosis. Within minutes the message was winging its way across the globe.

A few nights later and there were relatives tucked in every corner, swinging on the rafters, hanging from the roof, dangling from the curtains. Not that granny was an angel. To paraphrase Jonathan Swift: true …

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