A Pyrrhic victoryBMJ 2002; 325 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.325.7371.1011/a (Published 02 November 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:1011
- David Kerr, retired general practitioner
Cathy, at 17, had come from far away to visit her aunt. When I was called from my bed to see her she was lying semiconscious on a trolley in casualty with a barely perceptible pulse and the telltale rash of fulminating meningococcal septicaemia.
Only a few week previously I had witnessed an 8 year old boy surrender in less than 24 hours to this killer, and I'd been left with a grim expertise on the condition unusual for a recently qualified house doctor. Whether this acquired skill proved helpful to Cathy I was never to find out. My triumph in keeping her alive was a high achievement in 1946, but when my own life events took me outside the hospital world into general practice I had no way of following up her …