Intended for healthcare professionals


A perfect death

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 22 January 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:202
  1. Cornelius Katona, dean
  1. Kent Institute of Medicine and Health Science, University of Kent, Canterbury

    My mother was 85 years old. She had just returned from her biennial “long trip” adventure. This time she had travelled alone across the United States visiting friends. She was proud of having boarded 24 planes and of having seen the “grassy knoll” in Dallas from which John Kennedy had been shot. She had lost weight though, and she looked very pale. “Sit down,” she said when I next telephoned. I sat down. “I am dying. I have cancer of the pancreas. It has gone to the liver. They say it will be …

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