I have a snapshot in my mind of standing inside a curtained cubicle in the A&E
department of a busy hospital early one morning. We, the hospital palliative care team,
had come to see a woman from Kosovo with metastatic cancer.
The woman's daughter was in her 20's and worked in the UK. The daughter and son had brought their mother straight to A&E from the airport hoping that she would be able to access chemotherapy. She appeared to be in a great deal of pain, but was also confused and physically very weak. The plane journey must have been a difficult ordeal.
We had a plan for her pain control, but it was clear that she was too unwell to have chemotherapy. It was the look of desperation in the daughter's eyes that stays with me, pleading for us to do something to help her mother.
Two days later she fled the hospital with her family in the middle of the night, leaving only the cut tubing from the syringe driver.