Heroic surgeryBMJ 2004; 329 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.329.7469.777-a (Published 30 September 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:777
- Martin Christie, consultant neurosurgeon
- Walsgrave Hospital, Coventry
It is in the nature of surgery that surgeons will sometimes find themselves in a position to rescue people from certain death. In the developed world this tends not to happen to trainees because there is always a senior to call on for advice and assistance, and as a consequence most surgeons will have reached a degree of competence by the time they have to shoulder the responsibility on their own.
In Papua New Guinea in 1974 it was different. Our hospital was the end of the line, with no onward referral. Our surgeon was on leave, and I was standing in, when a pick-up truck deposited a woman who had been flown …