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Report of a death
Nurse: When I visited Mr. Jacobs on Monday, he was going downhill fast. I was conscious most of the time. His hands and feet were cool. His arms were pale grey. He spoke, but not to us —to people we couldn't see. At about four o'clock he tried to get out of bed and fell to the floor. His breathing was restricted and noisy, so I gave oxygen to help him breathe.
Supervisor: And you saw him on Tuesday, too, didn't you?
Nurse: Yes. By Tuesday he was unconscious all the time. Irregular breathing — sometimes a pause of a minute or more. He took no fluids and no food, so there was no urine. Mrs. Jacobs and I turned him regularly.
Supervisor: And when did the end come?
Nurse: The end came on Wednesday morning. Mr. Jacobs was no longer breathing. I called Doctor Simpson and he pronounced Mr. Jacobs dead at ten o’clock, the seventh of July.
A: Did you hear Mr Webb died last night?
B: Did he? Oh dear. He got a lung infection, didn't he?
A: Yes, two weeks ago. He was receiving treatment for that, but he actually died of a heart attack.
B: Really? What caused it?
A: A blood clot.
B: Right. He had AIDS, of course, didn't he. When was he diagnosed with that?
A: Six months ago. And he was HIV-positive for five years. He started suffering from depression at about the same time.
B Life-limiting conditions present many long-term medical and emotional problems – not only for the child, but for parents and siblings too. So the hospice offers respite care – short stays for the child alone or for the whole family together. At these times, parents hand over responsibilities to the staff and have a ‘holiday’. Short stays give terminally-ill children an opportunity to meet others with similar conditions.
C Each child at the hospice has their own carer and their own care plan. A normal day might start with ajacuzzi bath followed by a massage from a complementary therapist. Some children go to school, while others play with hospice play specialists.
D The hospice has a multi-sensory room. This is a special room which stimulates the children’s senses with lights, music, touch, and smell. It has touch-screen computers, video games, paddling pools, and space for wheelchair dancing. Children have music therapy and can record their own music, not only as a way to express their feelings, but to leave something for their family and friends to listen to in the years to come.
E The hospice has a number of quiet rooms where we care for children during and after death. These are places where families and friends can say goodbye. Our support does not end with death. We help not just grieving parents, but also siblings who are experiencing bereavement. We give everyone opportunities to discuss their fears about death and dying.
1: Brain activity stops.
2: The skin cools.
3: The eyelids enlarge slightly and the pupils.
4: The pulse ceases.
5: The jaw relaxes and opens slightly.
6: Breathing stops.
7: The heart stops beating.
8: The bowel and bladder release their contents .
9: The limbs become rigid
Talking about dying
1: This boy has serious head injuries. He has been in a coma for a week.
2: The patient stopped breathing, and is now on a life-support machine.
3: We need a porter to take the body to the mortuary.
4: I'm afraid your father passes away in his sleep last night
5: There was a fatal accident outside the hospital - both drivers were killed.
6: The post-mortem showed that the old lady died of a stroke.
7: After a bad fall, Mr. Deans goes down hill very fast and died the following week.
8: This gentleman has terminal cancer. With treatment, he may live another year.