This paper was first presented at the London Medical Group's Annual Conference entitled Death: the last taboo held in February 1980. Dr Vere comments on the evidence of research done by him and his colleagues on the pain and discomfort suffered by patients who are dying and are in hospital. He contrasts this with the situation in hospices, analyses the differences, and attributes much of the unnecessary pain suffered in hospitals to attitudes of staff, as well as to a reluctance by relatives to allow patients with terminal pain to die at home. He deprecates the tendency in hospitals to separate 'curing' and 'caring' and suggests that sometimes the best help involves 'doing' less, not more.
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