BMJ 1995; 310 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.310.6975.340 (Published 04 February 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:340

Around 10% of patients on dialysis who die have their dialysis stopped before death. Discontinuation of dialysis for a patient with a terminal illness sets a time limit for the process of dying (Archives of Internal Medicine 1995;155:42–7). If all goes well the patient and the family can talk candidly; dietary restrictions can be lifted, and many patients die “a good death.” Not all do, however: some have poor palliative care and may have substantial distress.

The new year toast in the “British Heart Journal” (1995;73:8–9) was to the cardioprotective effects of alcohol. M J Griffith blames the temperance mentality for blurring the message. We should, he says, advise the public to “consume one or two drinks a day, preferably with meals and perhaps red wine. Patients already drinking at this level should be encouraged to continue, and lifelong teetotallers should be informed of the hazards of their continued abstinence.”

Minerva's 1995 prize for prolixity goes to the Edinburgh Conference Centre's sign—“TOILET FLUSH. To flush the toilet please operate the handle in upwards direction.” Why not “Lift to flush?”

Minerva started her journalistic career as an editor of a student medical journal, so she is …

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