Personal Views

A leap of faith?

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.325.7358.287 (Published 03 August 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:287
  1. Alan Cameron, consultant surgeon
  1. Ipswich

    Imagine this: I am standing on a narrow ledge on the side of a suspension bridge. In a moment I am going to jump off, trusting that the elastic rope attached to my ankles will stop me plunging to certain death in the river 43 metres (142 feet) below.

    Such bungee jumping derives from the harvest celebrations in Vanuatu in the South Pacific when men leapt from 20 m platforms with vines attached to their ankles. The Oxford dangerous sports club used elastic rope to jump from the Clifton suspension bridge—and were promptly arrested. The “sport” was popularised in New Zealand from the very bridge that I was on.

    I am an otherwise rational 52 year old general surgeon, so what possessed me to do such a thing?

    I have learnt a new respect for those who entrust their lives to us in theatre

    Firstly, I have always been scared of heights, not only because of the fear of falling but also partly because of the fatal attraction of actually jumping off. This must be some atavistic impulse since many …

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