Fillers Two memorable patients

Two deaths, two lives

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: (Published 02 February 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:279
  1. David Memel, general practitioner (
  1. Bristol

    Some days in general practice are surprising. On a Tuesday morning last June I was due to see Miss Jean Smith at 10 20. She had longstanding angina and recently had worsening breathlessness. We had discussed my referring her to a specialist, but in her old fashioned polite and deferential way she'd said, “It's up to you, doctor, but maybe we could wait.” I had known her for many years but had never visited her at home, and I had formed a picture of her as a spinster, living very much alone, supported by a few friends from the church.

    At 9 50 the telephone rang, and a receptionist told me that Jean Smith has been found dead in her bedroom by the police. …

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