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A Piece of My Mind
February 10, 2010

Coda: Don’t Touch Me

Author Affiliations

A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne K. Young, Associate Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2010;303(6):494. doi:10.1001/jama.303.6.494

January 20, 2010

“Katie” died today. Her passing marked an end to the story “Don't Touch Me.”1 I had seen her several times in the last month, as her little body was worn out by the widely disseminated cancer. During some of her admissions in December, she would actually let me pick her up. She told her mom that I was the doctor “that likes to hug you.” Once when I was out of pocket, she refused to go to the operating room until I came and took her myself. I had to excuse myself from a meeting with a hospital administrator in order to carry her in my arms to get a port placement . . . her last. Two weeks ago she was admitted for the last time. She was very cranky and had bone pain. I brought her a stuffed puppy from my office, but she was inconsolable. Over the course of the next ten days, she deteriorated rapidly. The decision was made to move her to another hospital for a final therapy. Soon after she arrived, her pupils were fixed and dilated. “Katie” was gone.

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