Views & Reviews Past Caring

And finally …

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 02 December 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f7180
  1. Wendy Moore, freelance writer and author, London
  1. wendymoore{at}

In deathbed scenes since antiquity, doctors have listened to final words ranging from the mundane to the ridiculous and have chronicled for posterity pithy truths and punning tropes. The naval surgeon William Beatty even published his account of Nelson’s last words at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. After the well known entreaty for a kiss from his flag captain, Hardy, and a shrewd plea for his body not to be thrown overboard, Nelson expired with the remark: “Thank God I have done my duty.” Beatty did his too, …

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