First, Do No Harm | March 1, 2013 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Cover Story - March 1, 2013

First, Do No Harm

by Andrew Briggs

It was a quarter past six when William James died. He was not a particularly old man, and had put up a good fight before the brain tumor finally overwhelmed him. As the sunlight receded over the barren trees which dotted the snow covered ground outside his windows, he lay motionless, unseeing, as if numb to the pain of the world. The equipment which once surrounded him had been long since taken away. All that remained was a crash cart, and the telltale chest burns which resulted from repeated use of a defibrillator. The vital monitors, displays black, cast long shadows over the body from where they hung, bolted to the wall on either side of the bed. A mournful silence made the pall complete.

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