To many, the specialties of surgery and palliative medicine must appear worlds apart. Surgery is oen viewed as a heroic, life-saving and essentially physical domain, of the Cartesian school of thought where body is independent of mind, and where results are assessed in terms of death, disability or cure [2], death being regarded as failure, the least acceptable outcome [3]. Palliative care is seen by some as a less dynamic branch of medicine, where patients and families are metaphorically shielded from the nastier aspects of their disease, and where intervention and practical management are viewed secondary to comfort and emotional support for the duration of the illness, oen until death. Neither of these impressions is warranted.