Innocence revisited

Innocence revisited – 11



This month we arrive at the eventual outcome of all medical interventions – death.

Compiled by Dr John Ellard

Article Extract


First, your Editor – still wrestling with the problems of that night, so many decades ago, at Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital.

A gentleman lay dying in the medical ward. There was little more to do: he was unconscious but his family had come in multitudes to comfort him and each other by their presence and concern. Not even a consultant thanatologist could do more.

To view my patient I had to thread my way through unyielding rows of backs, whose owners saw further medical intervention as a disruption of their grief. I found that my resources extended to penetrating three or four ranks and then standing on tip-toe to peer at him from afar, at the same time listening to the sound of his breathing to reassure myself that he was still among us.