Clinical Review

Patient's view

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 22 May 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:1133
  1. Peter Hartl,
  2. Gottfried Sodeck, registrar (Gottfried.Sodeck{at}
  1. 1 Department of Emergency Medicine, Vienna General Hospital, Währinger Gürtel 18-20, A-1093 Vienna, Austria

    Peter Hartl with the support of Gottfried Sodeck

    When the doctors first asked me to participate in this discussion about my case I refused because I did not know how to express my impressions and reflections properly. However, I did let my wife talk to Gottfried Sodeck, and with their help I have finally managed to discuss my illness. In sum, taking part in the interactive case report has been an interesting experience for me.

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    Peter's memories of emergency treatment were a blur


    I realise now that although the doctors of the emergency department informed me about my diagnosis and the following surgery, the only thing I remember clearly is being taken to the operating theatre in the lift. I think I was simply overwhelmed by the situation and was not able to reflect and realise the life threatening nature of my condition.

    After surgery, in the intensive care unit and the normal care ward, I had the feeling of being lost in time. I could not concentrate and had problems with basic things like reading and writing. Additionally, I was quite restless and lacking motivation.

    Only when I got home did I realise what had happened to me and try to find answers for the cause of my disease. This process of reflection was frustrating, since there were no proper answers. My wife and the doctors tried to help me and provided me with a lot of information, but I could not find peace of mind.

    After rehabilitation I realised that I just have to accept my disease. I know that my aortic aneurysm near the heart is repaired. I hope it will hold as long as I live. A recent computed tomogram showed that the rest of the aneurysm in the aorta in my chest and abdomen has increased a bit. They do not want to do anything at the moment. I really hope that I will not get problems with the remaining aneurysm, particularly as I don't know what to do to prevent it. I am now trying to live my life intensively every day and I am no longer afraid of death, even though I know that my disease cannot be healed.


    • Competing interests None declared.

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