Over more than thirty years of practice, I’ve encountered death in its many forms. I’ve had to tell distraught parents that their child won’t make it. I’ve had to speak to wives as they become widows, children as they let go of parents, and, just occasionally, be the only company for the dying as they lose the link with life. Over this time, I’ve created … Continue reading A time to die – Dr Sue Ieraci
We were never taught how to do this part. It’s only through years of trial and error that you figure out the best way of breaking bad news – hopefully without too much of the error. Sometimes you know you do it well, and others, well… One thing is certain, this long walk and the interaction at the end is a test of compassion. It’s … Continue reading Breaking bad news – Dr Michelle Johnston
A needle goes into her leg for medications while we continue with CPR. The monitor shows no heartbeat at all. It’s a well-practised drill. We know what to do and we do it: chest compressions, adrenaline in, a tube in the airway to breathe for her, more adrenaline. A bit more of this, more of that. We go for twenty minutes, maybe thirty, there’s no heartbeat; we’re not winning. Ten more minutes . . . this is bad, very bad. Continue reading Everything we can – Dr Simon Judkins
Another cough. I look up from the care plan. There’s a look of distress. And blood, lots of it.
We stare at each other. It’s a brief glance, but also the most meaningful unspoken exchange. The sheepish grin turns to a look of fear, horror – finality.
He knows. I know. This is it; this is dying. Continue reading Dignity – Dr Simon Judkins
‘I’m pregnant again,’ she said. ‘I just wanted to say thank you.’ She had approached me at the supermarket check-out. I had been packing the trolley while my wife paid the bill, our usual routine. My wife looked at her, then looked at me, unspoken questions in her eyes. I’m not sure if you are supposed to be happy when another woman tells you that … Continue reading Pregnant again – Dr Peter Aitken
It’s the smell that you can never really get out of your head. It’s the brutal insult to the human body and the trauma to the human psyche, for the patients, the family and the staff. The combination of all these factors makes this horrible. It’s a combination of burnt flesh, burnt hair and singed clothing. It sticks with you. When we get the call, … Continue reading It stays with you – Dr Simon Judkins