What my mother-in-law’s death taught me about GP care

GPs can do much to address the systemic failings of our healthcare system, writes Professor Leanne Rowe.

“Life is very beautiful. Please let me die quickly,” my 90-year-old mother-in-law, Sonya, said in one of her few lucid moments, while languishing as a private patient in a crowded orthopaedic ward of a major public teaching hospital. 

Demented, bed-bound, incontinent and recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, she was facing further surgical intervention, medical imaging, blood transfusions and other intensive treatments,