Views & Reviews Medical Classics

Life & Death

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 12 June 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b2411
  1. Roy Williamson, specialist registrar in anaesthesia, Leighton Hospital, Crewe
  1. roymwilliamson{at}

    I was 11 years old when I performed my first surgical operation. My hands shook, my incision was a zigzag, and I forgot to sterilise the skin. “Isn’t that the chief of surgery coming in?” asked my assistant—and then the screen froze and I was bundled into a lecture theatre and berated on the dangers of infection to which I had exposed my patient. This was Life & Death, a computer game featuring reasonably realistic diagnosis and surgery.

    The player assumes the role of a surgical resident in a fictional hospital and is presented with an array of patients with acute abdominal problems. After reviewing a patient’s chart, the player can conduct …

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