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May 13, 1998

The Positive Aspect of Tragedy: A Matter of Perspective

Author Affiliations

Margaret A.WinkerMD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthor


Copyright 1998 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.1998

JAMA. 1998;279(18):1441. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-279-18-jac80006

To the Editor.—As anyone would have been, I was moved by the description of the sudden tragedy that befell the woman in Dr Beasley's A Piece of My Mind entitled "Whispering Through the Keyhole."1 The patient's lethal basilar artery occlusion certainly was unanticipated by her or her family. Yet, death likely had been discussed between them at some earlier moment in her life. This otherwise healthy "40-something" woman may well have been a suitable potential donor of several vital organs. I was left wondering whether organ donation had been considered by either her medical team or the family. Certainly, inclusion of the active sharing of the "gift of life" would have made her personal legacy more profound and this fine piece of literature even more moving.

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