Intended for healthcare professionals


We’re all going to die. Deal with it

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 16 September 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c5028
  1. Tony Delamothe, deputy editor 1,
  2. Mike Knapton, associate medical director 2,
  3. Eve Richardson, chief executive3
  1. 1BMJ, London WC1H 9JR, UK
  2. 2British Heart Foundation, London
  3. 3National Council for Palliative Care and Dying Matters coalition, London
  1. tdelamothe{at}

    In the years since Cicely Saunders opened St Christopher’s Hospice in 1967, palliative care has blossomed into one of the glories of British medicine. Although much has been learnt about caring for cancer patients at the end of their lives, these lessons have been inadequately appreciated by doctors treating patients dying from causes other than cancer. The series of specially commissioned reviews in this inaugural BMJ Spotlight is intended to help remedy that.

    Eventually, everyone dies—many more of us after gradual physical and mental decline than cancer. Early recognition of those patients with advancing illness who would benefit from supportive and palliative care is the key to good management.1 A positive answer to …

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