1. Dinwiddie, Lisa MS, RN

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I've been a nurse for 43 years and have never written in response to an article in a nursing journal until now. I have to commend you for the rational and timely article, "Palliative Chemotherapy" (Perspectives on Palliative Nursing, June).


My brother battled stage IV malignant melanoma for 18 months; a battle he lost on July 1. I was very involved over the course of his disease process. As my first nursing job had been on an oncology--hematology unit, I felt I had something to offer. What I saw at his cancer center was that no one was willing to suggest that my brother wasn't responding to treatment and that maybe we should consider helping him and his wife prepare for his imminent death. What I saw was a cancer center more interested in giving chemotherapy (probably because my brother had good insurance) until he took his last breath, rather than helping him deal with his fear and pain.


I was very disappointed in what passed for nursing care. The nurses were good at handwashing, gloving up, and charting in the computer. In the old days there was no cancer center-our oncology unit gave chemotherapy. Yet we found time to talk to patients and families about how they were doing, what they needed at home, and how we could prepare them for the future. In my brother's case, no one took the time to ask those questions.


Your article helped me prepare my sister-in-law for what was coming. I think the SHARE Approach mentioned in the article would be very helpful to patients and families. My brother lived 40 hours after we got him home. Hospice was a godsend. Thank you, Marianne Matzo, for your article. I hope nurses not only read it, but do what you suggest.


Lisa Dinwiddie, MS, RN


Lamoille, NV