Personal Views

Thomas comes home

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 28 February 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:711
  1. David Stevens
  1. consultant paediatrician, Gloucester

    The front door had been left open and we walked straight in. Thomas's mother and father were there with their closest friends and family. A space was left for Thomas. His favourite Thomas the Tank Engine pillow and duvet were laid out on the sofa. We were there to welcome Thomas home and to say goodbye.

    Thomas had been taken ill a year ago at the age of 4. His brain tumour was extensive and could not be removed surgically. He underwent a tough chemotherapy regimen, which had some effect on the residual tumour but it bought him only a precious year. That year was one in which there were lots of hospital visits but it was also one in which he continued to play with his friends, had a lot of fun and laughter, enjoyed looking after his pet guinea pig and rabbit, and took the huge leap from age 4 to 5.

    When his symptoms recurred the scan showed further extension of the tumour. Faced with no prospect of cure, his parents talked to Thomas's neuro-oncologist and to …

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