Filler Christmas 2011: Death’s Dominion

Death without the sting

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 20 December 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d7369
  1. John McGarry, retired surgeon, gynaecologist, and obstetrician, Bittadon, Barnstaple, UK

It’s payback time, thinks retired surgeon and gynaecologist John McGarry

Duncan Smith

The first dead person I saw was in 1956 on entering the dissecting room at Bristol Medical School. After the initial distaste was overcome, delicately cutting up a dead body became a pleasurable collegiate exercise with chat to fellows on the other side of the lead covered table, forming friendships that have been sustained lifelong.

Each Thursday, we had a viva on the previous week’s dissection, and I mostly got As and Bs. However, on Thursday 26 July 1956 I was rewarded with an E, as the day before I had joined …

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