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In an investigation of fatal illness during a 12-month period in a practice of 5,897 patients in Glasgow, 58 deaths (42 male, 16 female) were recorded. Malignant neoplasms and myocardial infarction in male patients of 50 years and over accounted for 27 (46·6 per per cent) of the deaths. Thirty (51·7 per cent) of the deaths took place in hospital. Fifteen (25·9 per cent) of the deaths were sudden. In patients dying in hospital of malignant, cardiac, and respiratory disease the duration of the terminal stay in hospital represented a small proportion of the total duration of the illness, the principal burden of their care falling upon their families and community resources.
In an integrated health service much yet remains to be accomplished in co-ordinating the efforts of hospital and community teams in caring for the fatally ill patient.