A magical educationBMJ 2006; 332 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.332.7554.1399 (Published 08 June 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:1399
- Daniel K Sokol (firstname.lastname@example.org), PhD candidate
- medical ethics unit, department of primary health care and general practice, Imperial College London, and hospital magician, Charing Cross Hospital
One afternoon a week, when tired of thinking about medical ethics, I put on my volunteer's badge, pick up my cards and coins, and head over to the nearby hospital. In large, black letters, the badge reads “MAGICIAN.”
For a few hours, I meander through the wards, performing tricks for the “guests” and their relatives. At the bedside, a large silk scarf vanishes and reappears before their eyes, three coins jump invisibly from one hand to the next, a £5 note changes into £20, two cards change places in a blink of an eye, a signed card disappears from the deck, only to reappear in my wallet, and so on.
In my first week as a hospital magician, I nearly vomited twice. In one oncology ward, the stench of urine and faeces was such that I could barely finish my first trick. I held my breath, rushed to the end, and briskly walked out, gasping for …