INSIGHTS ON DEATH & DYING: Saying the right thing

August 2004 
Volume 34  Number 8
Pages 66 - 67
  PDF Version Available!

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc. Volume 34(8)             August 2004             p 66–67 Saying the right thing [INSIGHTS ON DEATH & DYING: REMOVING A VENTILATOR]


My wife is a nurse who's read your column for years. She suggested I write to you about something that's worrying me .

I'm a physician who's just started my residency. Sooner or later, I'll have to remove a terminally ill patient from a ventilator. What can I possibly say to the family that won't add to their pain? —J.S., IND.

You sound like a gem, and I think your wife and your patients are blessed to have you.

The most important thing is to be kind. Families will always remember you in a good light, regardless of the gravity of the situation, if you come across as sincerely sorry for their impending loss.

Communication starts with body ...

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