Robert Peston
Robert Peston

The heartbreaking decisions doctors are preparing to face

The heartbreaking decisions doctors are preparing to face

In recent days, I have had more than enough upsetting conversations with doctors to last a lifetime. About how they don't have the protective gear to protect themselves from infection or to minimise the risk of them infecting others, about shortages of critical care beds and equipment, and about what they see as the scandal that not enough of them are tested for the virus. But perhaps the most upsetting conversations of all are about what they say to patients who come to hospital barely able to breathe, and whose underlying frailties are such that there is little prospect of them surviving longer than a few days. Like the rest of us, most doctors - except those working in end-of-life or palliative care - do not experience death as a daily or hourly experience.

Robert Peston

The heartbreaking decisions doctors are preparing to face

The heartbreaking decisions doctors are preparing to face

In recent days, I have had more than enough upsetting conversations with doctors to last a lifetime. About how they don't have the protective gear to protect themselves from infection or to minimise the risk of them infecting others, about shortages of critical care beds and equipment, and about what they see as the scandal that not enough of them are tested for the virus. But perhaps the most upsetting conversations of all are about what they say to patients who come to hospital barely able to breathe, and whose underlying frailties are such that there is little prospect of them surviving longer than a few days. Like the rest of us, most doctors - except those working in end-of-life or palliative care - do not experience death as a daily or hourly experience.

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