Intended for healthcare professionals

Fillers The ladder of truth

The story of a mother and her son

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 07 August 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:371
  1. Olive McKendrick, retired paediatrician
  1. Liverpool

    This story was told to me by Christopher's mother and related to a conversation they had when he was about 6. At the time he was attending a cystic fibrosis clinic where he came to know Rosie, another patient about the same age. Sadly, Rosie died shortly afterwards.

    One day, a little later, while perched on the draining board watching his mother wash up, Christopher dropped his bombshell by asking whether he had cystic fibrosis, whether he would always have it, and whether he, like Rosie, would die. She answered each question simply and truthfully.

    To keep the ball in the air, she then …

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