Shameful, degrading, awful, appalling

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 09.28.06The unnameable

Dalrymple writes that on one of the wards in which he worked as a young doctor, there was

a strange ritual. Before the chief did his rounds, the medical notes of all the patients would be put out on their bed tables, ready for him to consult – except those of the patients with cancer. They were not the only patients on the ward with potentially fatal conditions, of course; but cancer was regarded as a disease so awful, with an outcome inevitably so degrading, that it shamed the patient and doctor alike, and therefore could not be named or referred to. Cancer was held in a peculiar kind of appalled awe.

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