Intimate look at dying
Photos capture patients facing life’s biggest challenge in care
THERE is no word for that subliminal state between life and death, when the breaths are becoming shallower but the heart refuses to concede that its earthly duty is drawing to an end.
Most of us are uncomfortable with death, and even more so when death taps a loved one on the shoulder.
Western Sydney Local Health District multimedia manager Carlos Furtado recently had the privilege of photographing a day in Mt Druitt Hospital’s Supportive and Palliative Care Unit.
Mr Furtado was given access to photograph the most intimate of moments when patients, families and staff were dealing in real time with the reality of dying and death.
In a series of emotive black and white photographs, Mr Furtado has captured those “precious moments” as patients rest uneasily — and wait, families reflect on the impending finality of life and hospital staff go about their jobs with gentleness and grace.
Nursing unit manager Trish Dalgleish said her team’s job was to make a difference to those facing one of life’s biggest challenge — death and dying.
“The Supportive and Palliative Care Unit at Mt Druitt Hospital provides our community with holistic acute care, assessment and symptom control for adult patients over the course of their life limiting illness,” Ms Dalgleish said.
“When people ask me what I do, I proudly explain. They respond, ‘it must be so depressing’.
“I tell them it’s an absolute privilege to be able to assist patients and their family and carers at this time of their lives.”
Presence is a great comforter when the time is drawing nigh and the world outside fades into insignificance.
Precious moments of dying, reflection, confronting your fears and supporting family and staff are captured at Mt Druitt Hospital's palliative care unit.