Electronic naggingBMJ 1997; 314 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.314.7089.1287 (Published 26 April 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:1287
- Geoffrey Bunch, a consultant surgeon in Huddersfield
It was a broken leg that first introduced me to hospitals. “What are the coloured lights for?” I asked my mother. She explained that they were to summon the doctors, each one having his own individual code. The coloured lights, in 1947, were a primitive means of communication, but they had one great virtue—they were silent.
By the time I became a medical student doctors were summoned by bleepers. Bleepers were allocated only to those who might be required urgently—the house officers. We medical students were summoned by bells—three bells for a surgical dresser, two for a medical clerk. Our duties were menial, but those old bells, the successors to the coloured lights and forerunners of bleepers made us feel important.
I graduated and in 1962 became the proud possessor of a …