Just after Rachel Clarke qualified as a doctor she watched a consultant oncologist wash his hands. “There’s nothing more for us to do here,” he said of the patient whose bedside they had just left. “Send her to the palliative dustbin.” His crass comment was one of the factors that drove her to work in palliative care, the “dowdy support act”, she says, of the medical hierarchy, where neurosurgeons are the “rock stars”, the “sexy, alpha, heart-throb heroes”, and palliative-care doctors are left to “work in the shadows”. It’s also one of the factors that drove her to write this remarkable book.
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