Personal Views

The need to protect our colleagues

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 10 August 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:369
  1. B W A Herriot

    Six months ago my mother died at home in her mid-70s. During her last few days I became her doctor. This is a role that I should not have taken as it placed a huge responsibility on me at a time of great emotional stress.

    She has suffered from secondary breast cancer for many years but through sheer determination she continued to live life to the full. After a stroke a few years ago she could say little, but with the help of a word processor and her family she recovered well. Interestingly, she could not deal with money after this but was still able to do complicated tapestry, transferring detailed designs on to blank canvas with skill.

    A few days before she died I got a telephone call during morning surgery to say that she had collapsed. Her own general practitioner visited her immediately and thought, correctly, that she had had a further cerebrovascular accident. I live seven hours' drive away so arranged to go after evening surgery, leaving my wife, who is also a general practitioner, to run the practice. On arrival in the …

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