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Can Fam Physician. 2010 June; 56(6): 526.
PMCID: PMC2902934


Marlene E. Hunter, MD FCFP(C)

I was certainly “touched” by the article by Dr Meredith McKague in the March 2010 issue.1 As has happened so many times before, it took me back to an incident many years ago when I was a relatively young FP. I was visiting a child who was quite obviously nearing the end of his young life. After seeing him, I went out into the corridor where his mother was softly weeping. There seemed to be nothing to say. Words are so often both unnecessary and intrusive. I put my arms around her. In a few moments, she straightened up, softly thanked me, and went in to be with her child.

As I left the ward, I was stopped by the head nurse, who proceeded to give me a talking-to for embracing the young mother. She told me, in no uncertain terms, that it was unprofessional. I didn’t respond; those were the days when the head nurse of a ward was definitely the Big Chief.

There are always exceptions to regulations. I dare to hope that we have outlived those days and are paying more attention to the needs of a young mother than the assumed propriety of hospital personnel—no matter how important he or she might be.


1. McKague M. Touch. Can Fam Physician. 2010;56:263. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

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