Ninth-floor transfer from an eight-floor hospital / Mrs. Pap

Jan Steckel
Med J Aust 2016; 204 (1): . || doi: 10.5694/mja15.00649
Published online: 18 January 2016

Turfed to eternity was how we euphemized
death. When the urosepsis in 807 lay
burning in her terminal coma, the nurse
tried to get me to sit and hold her hand
on the theory that no one should die alone.
Just because everything medical students did
was useless didn’t mean we had nothing to do.
So I didn’t stay with the dying woman,
went to gather reams of duplicative data
on other patients instead. When at last I returned
she was cold, her mouth a collapsing “O.” I bought
yellow roses from the gift shop, ringed her
body with them. The nurse tidied them
into a urinal before the nephew arrived.

  • Oakland, Calif, USA



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