From time to time the Lancet publishes articles in a series entitled "Both Ends of the Stethoscope." In them, doctors tell anonymously of their own experiences as patients. Their accounts are generally capped with brief clinical notes written by the attending physician, also unnamed.
The most recent contribution1 is both remarkable as a document and important for the lessons it offers to anyone dealing with the gravely ill. It is remarkable because it recounts, in a simple, matterof-fact way, what it feels like to die. Apparently the event is not so charged with cosmic significance as poets and writers have imagined.
I was sitting up in bed after tea, trying unsuccessfully to pick up the story in a rather ridiculous book of fiction when I felt something inside me running down very quickly. The customary ward sounds rapidly receded, there was a singing in my ears, and vision faded.