A Fortunate Man

The fortunate man here is the doctor. Sassall meets anguished patients on his rounds – the close relatives of the dying, those who are ill and want to die, the immobilized who are made desperate by a kind of claustrophobic fear of their own bodies, the insanely jealous, the lonely who try to kill themselves, Read More …

Death from the other side of the bed

Ian Rankin. I don’t really blame people for shunning the dying. I try to do it myself, not physically but mentally by painting other pictures in my head. My mother has perhaps less than a week to live. If what she’s doing now is living. Not living, just there. At least I can go to Read More …

The shock of the machine

Commentary Thom Green is drummer for Alt-J – and has kidney failure and a transplant, and deafness, all caused by the inherited condition Alport Syndrome, which came on in his teens. In short videos he talks about the shock of dialysis, how different living with a transplant is, and about his (deceased) kidney donor. There’s Read More …

The Steel Windpipe

A dying child in rural Russia in 1916, by Mikhail Bulghakov. At eleven o’clock that night a little girl was brought. The mother’s face was contorted with noiseless weeping. When she had thrown off her sheepskin coat and shawl and unwrapped the bundle, I saw a little girl of about three years old. For a Read More …

A devastating prescribing error

The Diphtheria disaster at Medellin, Colombia. Diphtheria of a virulent type had been present in the district. In 1928, 45 of 105 patients died; in 1929, 68 of 109; and in 1930, 30 of 271. In consequence it was decided to test children by the Schick method and to immunize them with formalinized diphtheria toxin Read More …

Whistleblower: Enemy of the people

Ibsen on whistleblowing in 1882.  In this extract Dr Stockmann finds that his discovery of the health risk arising from local industry is most unwelcome. There is a confrontation with his brother, the mayor of the town. From from a New York production (Manhattan Theatre Club). Commentary Dr Stockmann is physician to the new spa Read More …