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A Piece of My Mind |

Seventy-two Hours

Paul Rousseau, MD
JAMA. 2008;300(8):882-883. doi:10.1001/jama.300.8.882.
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Seventy-two hours prior to Pamela's death from scleroderma, a pacemaker and defibrillator were inserted via her left subclavian vein for bradycardia and twenty-two minutes of ventricular tachycardia. But within twenty-four hours she was confused, her left arm erratically flailing and fading to a gangrenous black, the abrupt beginning of a slippery slide into the hands of death. I was notified that I should “Come right away” (she was hospitalized in another state at a medical center that specializes in scleroderma—I had remained in Phoenix with our youngest daughter, who was having trouble dealing with her mother's illness), so I called my oldest daughter in Texas; we three met in Phoenix and traveled 800 miles to Pamela's bedside.

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