Today I have to talk to three of my patients about dying. This is how I do it

Its tempting to put these all-important conversations off but the consequences can be dire Its 9.15am. The medical team is full of energy and caffeine. We have patients to see, some of whom are on the road to recovery, others who have already been recognised as dying, and some who have uncertain futures. There are three new patients whose condition could worsen at any time. Given their frailty I believe cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) would be futile. It is now my job to start a discussion about their future care. Three conversations. I take a deep breath. The trainee doctors are attentive and still learning how to do this. I complete my assessment for the first patient, pause, then open the …