It was one of those late summer days that England does really well, even if the other 350-odd days of the year the weather is a bit more, well, wet. An absolutely pure blue sky, late afternoon warm sunshine and everyone feeling lazy at the end of a long weekend. This was in the mid-80s. I was starting my second year as a medical student, … Continue reading Training day – Associate Professor Paul Middleton
Anxious, scared, disbelieving. Despairing and broken. I don’t really know what words to use; all of them. You can see the physical transformation as the parents enter the room, energy drained. They are supporting each other, each stopping the other from collapsing. For our patient’s family, this is not happening, this is surreal, this is just a terrible nightmare. This is not meant to happen … Continue reading I don’t remember anything at all – Dr Joe-Anthony Rotella
Things don’t always go well. One night, an unconscious man is brought into the ED. His friend actually drags him into the department. He has no pulse; he’s not breathing. He is white as a sheet. We perform CPR on him, going and going until help finally arrives in the form of a GP specialist who has travelled from home. The half an hour we spend working … Continue reading Emergency at night – Dr Anselm Wong
I’m on my knees in the wet sand, leaning over a woman younger than me. She’s clothed in jeans and a t-shirt, which has been pulled down to expose her chest. She is cold and grey. Her eyes stare, pupils huge and cloudy. My impression is she’s dead. I insert the airway tube and frothy pink water gushes out of her windpipe. She has no pulse. We strip off her wet clothes, trying to let the sun warm her.
The rip dragged her out. Continue reading I can probably help – Dr Venita Munir
A needle goes into her leg for medications while we continue with CPR. The monitor shows no heartbeat at all. It’s a well-practised drill. We know what to do and we do it: chest compressions, adrenaline in, a tube in the airway to breathe for her, more adrenaline. A bit more of this, more of that. We go for twenty minutes, maybe thirty, there’s no heartbeat; we’re not winning. Ten more minutes . . . this is bad, very bad. Continue reading Everything we can – Dr Simon Judkins
‘I’m pregnant again,’ she said. ‘I just wanted to say thank you.’ She had approached me at the supermarket check-out. I had been packing the trolley while my wife paid the bill, our usual routine. My wife looked at her, then looked at me, unspoken questions in her eyes. I’m not sure if you are supposed to be happy when another woman tells you that … Continue reading Pregnant again – Dr Peter Aitken