Asymptote: answering the dreadful question

Working in a specialty that is almost overwhelmed by '2 week wait' referrals (patients who are sent by their GPs with a suspicion of cancer), I am often asked, 'How long?' For some patients, inevitably, are found to have incurable disease. It is the job of me and my colleagues to provide an answer. Frequently,... Continue Reading →

The Clean-Up operation

  Julia had told the story of the heartless consultant many times. How he, a paternalistic but highly regarded specialist, broke the news to a patient that he had cancer in an overly matter of fact way before walking away from the bed, and, within earshot, saying, “Hopeless!” to the rest of the team. Julia, very... Continue Reading →

‘That’s not my area’

An account, written for the Guardian by an elderly patient’s daughter, described how nobody treated her as a complete person in hospital. “Nobody will look at the whole of me,” my mum said on her third stay in hospital this year. “It’s like a department store. You go to a bit of it and they... Continue Reading →

Glide

A now traditional Christmas Carol-esque cautionary tale for busy doctors, which also owes something to another, less esteemed cultural influence... oOo Jim, a thirty-something medical registrar, stared out of an eighth floor window into the lifting darkness. With dawn came the prospect of home, and the end of his fourth night on call. He thought about... Continue Reading →

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