Filler All Things Considered

“He’s taken longer to die than a horse”

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 11 September 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h4590
  1. Fay Murray-Brown, specialty trainee year 4, palliative medicine, Hospiscare, Exeter, UK
  1. faymurray-brown{at}

A 70 year old dairy farmer was admitted acutely with bronchopneumonia two months after a diagnosis of glioblastoma, for which he received palliative radiotherapy.

Unfortunately, despite maximal antibiotic treatment, he deteriorated and his condition was considered irreversible. The medical team told his family that as he was unlikely to survive, all active treatments should be stopped. Over the next three days he was mostly awake and, although confused, was communicating with his family. On day 5 he became unconscious and was transferred to the local hospice.

Once there, his wife described his symptoms and signs in animal terms. She helped manage their farm and kept horses. …

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