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It’s 9.15am. The medical team is full of energy and caffeine. We have patients to see, some of whom are on the road to recovery, others who have already been recognised as dying, and some who have uncertain futures. There are three new patients whose condition could worsen at any time. Given their frailty I believe cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) would be futile. It is now my job to start a discussion about their future care. Three conversations. I take a deep breath.

The trainee doctors are attentive and still learning how to do this. I complete my assessment for the first patient, pause, then open the discussion. My version is not perfect, and it varies. If it does not vary then it shows I am just repeating some learned lines – an impression that is important to avoid.

…continue reading ‘Philip Berry: Today I have to talk to three of my patients about dying. This is how I do it’

Image via Flickr Attribution Some rights reserved by NIHClinicalCenter

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