Intended for healthcare professionals

Practice What Your Patient is Thinking

Finding hope in dying

BMJ 2019; 366 doi: (Published 17 July 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l2416
  1. Molly Bartlett

Molly Bartlett discusses how to have those difficult conversations around not continuing treatment, and how she made the decision to enjoy the time she has left

I received a diagnosis of renal cell carcinoma 20 years ago and had a nephrectomy. By 2013 three more tumours had appeared. I took a hard look at the treatments on offer—an operation or dialysis. I felt pressure to “do battle” and not wave the white flag too soon. But neither of the treatments was a cure and waging war with my body could result in the loss of good time. I decided to jump off the medical treadmill and not pursue any further treatment. Friends and family can put many people in a similar position under pressure to be treated and hold out for a cure, even if …

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