Views & Reviews Between the Lines

Ill at ease

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 26 May 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c2797
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

    Anticholinergics, bottles of peppermint scented aluminium hydroxide, liquorice tablets, milk diets, and vagotomy and pyloroplasty—all the things that I remember from my childhood as treatment of peptic ulceration because my father tried them all without success (indeed, the V and P very nearly killed him)—were rendered redundant first by new pharmacological treatments and then by the discovery of the role of the Helicobacter.

    Things have changed dramatically in other respects too. For example, in 1989, in The Wench Is Dead, Inspector Morse (Colin Dexter’s hero of the Oxford police) was admitted with haematemesis, via the emergency department, to the John Radcliffe Infirmary. In those days, everything was done manually and thermometers still had …

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