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This time it was not a drill

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.319.7216.1079 (Published 16 October 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:1079
  1. Farhad Islam, senior house officer in accident and emergency medicine
  1. St Mary's Hospital, London

    Editorial p 1018

    The phone rang. It was ten past nine in the morning and I wasn't due to start work in the casualty department at St Mary's Hospital until the afternoon.

    “Where are you? It's Dad here. There's been a major rail crash just down the road from you. Hundreds are injured.”

    I quickly changed and ran downstairs. I weaved in and out of the traffic on my bicycle, and within two minutes I was at the police cordon. I flashed my identity badge and was led to the scene of the disaster.

    “Keep your bicycle helmet on, Doc. The paramedics are over there with some of the wounded.”

    Never had I imagined a major incident running so efficiently

    One hour had passed since the fatal collision and already a slick rescue plan was in operation. There were five commuters lying on the ground, each white with fear, shivering, although it was not cold. They lay with charred or bloodied faces. Look- ing dazed and frightened, but all uncomplaining—happy …

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