An incredible testament

The doctor came into the crowded room and turned off the ventilator. He twisted the monitor around so that we couldn’t see it. He walked out silently. A long 10 minutes would be an understatement. Ben struggled to breathe, fluid rattling in his lungs. And then he breathed his last. Six months earlier my 23 year old brother was fit and healthy and was completing his science degree to progress on to medicine.

I meant to flag up before this beautifully written but desperately sad testimony written by a medical student in Australia who witnessed the death of his brother in the BMJ. Yet going through the ordeal he realised the crucial importance both of holistic care and how family relationships are handled. It’s a tragedy you wouldn’t wish on anyone, but the author and those he reaches will transform more lives because of it.



About Julia Manning

Julia is a social pioneer, writer and campaigner. She studied visual science at City University and became a member of the College of Optometrists in 1991, later specialising in visual impairment and diabetes. During her career in optometry, she lectured at City University, was a visiting clinician at the Royal Free Hospital and worked with Primary Care Trusts. She ran a domiciliary practice across south London and was a Director of the UK Institute of Optometry. Julia formed 20/20Health in 2006. Becoming an expert in digital health solutions, she led on the NHS–USA Veterans’ Health Digital Health Exchange Programme and was co-founder of the Health Tech and You Awards with Axa PPP and the Design Museum. Her research interests are now in harnessing digital to improve personal health, and she is a PhD candidate in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) at UCL. She is also dedicated to creating a sustainable Whole School Wellbeing Community model for schools that builds relationships, discovers assets and develops life skills. She is a member of the Royal Society of Medicine’s Digital Health Council. Julia has shared 2020health's research widely in the media (BBC News, ITV, Channel 5 News, BBC 1′s The Big Questions & Victoria Derbyshire, BBC Radio 4 Today, PM and Woman's Hour, LBC) and has taken part in debates and contributed to BBC’s Newsnight, Panorama, You and Yours and ITV’s The Week.
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