Intensive care: Barrie Mahoney from the chemotherapy treatment room

‘I had just witnessed a wonderful example of love and care.’

‘It was then that I heard the words that we all dread hearing.’ | Photo: by Marcelo Leal on Unsplash

Maybe it’s time to put your affairs in order?’ is a form of words with which many patients with a terminal diagnosis are familiar. It is intended to give the broadest possible indication to the patient that they have limited time left. I have witnessed these words being said to patients a number of times, and often wished that I hadn’t intruded upon this most personal of conversations. In reality, it is often far too late for many patients to put their affairs in order. Those of us who are more fortunate are grateful for the warning, and thankful that we have some time to sort things out for those who are left behind.

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