Intended for healthcare professionals

Reviews Soundings

Failure to die

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 02 February 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:311
  1. Colin Douglas, doctor and novelist
  1. Edinburgh

    A long time ago, as a locum senior house officer, I followed the senior consultant round the ward. One of his patients, a frail, eccentric woman in the last stages of dementia, had a serious chest infection. He frowned and pondered, warned us off antibiotics, said he would talk to the family, and told us that our remaining duties were to ensure “comfort, dignity, and peace at the last.”

    The next time we went round our patient was looking very …

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