Mrs. Tucker, Her Daughter Emily and Dr. Duff

Benfield, Gary

Primary Category: Performing Arts / Film, TV, Video

Genre: Video

Annotated by:
Kohn, Martin
  • Date of entry: Jul-31-1997
  • Last revised: Aug-31-2006


Mrs. Tucker, Her Daughter Emily and Dr. Duff features Raymond Duff, M.D. as the storyteller. Dr. Duff was a pioneer in neonatology and produced many scholarly works in that field. One of his areas of research was grief and bereavement. However, his interests and this story go well beyond "grief resolution" to an exploration of the boundaries of the clinician-patient relationship.

The pseudonymous Tucker family and Dr. Duff share together a number of deaths and their aftermaths over a short period of time. In recounting the lessons learned from and privilege of being a part of the Tucker family "drama," Ray Duff reminds viewers "that although there inevitably is loss in what they encounter through their work in the health professions, there also is hope."


From Ray Duff in regard to this videotape: "I felt I was rather finished as a physician in the 20th Century when my major stroke and then hip fracture became my major afflictions. However, I found I had a mind that would learn and understand and read and communicate. Accordingly, I called Gary Benfield, M.D. whom I had known for years and he proposed that we make this video, so he came here and we made it.

I love it . . . I think both of us gradually drifted toward what I have called ’moral community’ meaning the small number of people involved in the care of the patient: the patient, intimate others and their advisors. People who are more remote from illness, suffering and dying rarely understand the meaning of specific events and so it has been our view that decisions cannot be dictated from any central elite authority."

Gary Benfield, a neonatoligist and NEOUCOM faculty member and I have used this tape many times in teaching to diverse audiences. The story is very powerfully told. Also, in the past we were able to involve Ray in the teaching through group conference telephone hook-up. This was a strategy of Gary’s to keep Ray involved in teaching despite his debilitating injuries. Unfortunately, Ray Duff died earlier this year.


The videotaping was originally done by staff at Children’s Hospital Medical Center of Akron. An edited version was produced by the Center for Literature, Medicine, and the Health Care Professions, which is a collaborative project of Hiram College and Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine (NEOUCOM).

Primary Source

This videotape is available through The University of Akron (one of NEOUCOM'S consortium universities). Please call directly to Audio-visual services-- Tom Bennett (330-972-6102) or call/e-mail Allison McConnell (330-972-6989);