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Eyewitness in Erewhon academic hospital
  1. Inez de Beaufort,
  2. Frans Meulenberg
  1. Erasmus MC/University Medical Center, Department of Medical Ethics and Philosophy of Medicine, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Dr Inez de Beaufort, Erasmus MC/University Medical Center, Department of Medical ethics and philosophy of medicine, PO Box 2040, 3000 CA Rotterdam, The Netherlands; i.debeaufort{at}

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Part 11: In search of lost ethics

‘Welcome to the desert of the real’

From: The Matrix

Sarah who usually is in control, cries. Hard and convincingly. A hand on her shoulder meant to calm her, cannot comfort her. The experienced Gwen knows that words don't help now, so the gesture is not accompanied by words. When she seems to calm down a little, Gwen says:

“Sit down for a second. I'll get you something to drink.”

Sarah nods. Then the women sit next to each other, Sarah sighs deeply.

“So, what is the matter with you?”

Sarah shivers lightly.

“The woman who was just brought in, it was simply too much. Sorry.”

She has a sip of water and shakes her red hair backwards making it look like a fire curtain. Gwen waits. The women aren't friends, but there certainly is mutual respect.

“You know, when I was a child, I have seen my mother so often… full of bruises, crying powerlessly, blood, broken nose… like the woman just brought in. What could I do? I was a child. My father. He… he hit my mother. When he was drunk, When he was not drunk. When she had done something. When she did nothing. When he felt like it. And he felt like it very often. My God…”

The Nuttree Pavilion looks like a chicken pen. Where normally serene thoughts and well considered judgements reign, it is now noisy and the voices sound excited. Even though seemingly indifferent, those who know him can see that even ethicist Gordon is excited. Research fellow Laura Vandeveer (black patent leather pumps, bare legs, short black dress with red, blue and yellow roses, dark curling hair, just eyeliner and some mascara) …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.

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