Personal Views

The seven ages of my BMJ

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 14 March 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:870
  1. William H Isbister, professor of surgery
  1. Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

    The magic of seven was reaffirmed in this journal in 1996 by Professor Ian Stewart (BMJ 1996;313:1570). After reading the editorial I began musing over my own personal relationship with the BMJ. I soon realised that it, too, was a function of seven, there being so far seven phases of the relationship.

    My father was a general practitioner in Old Trafford, and at one time an appreciative old patient had given him an antique desk which had a glass fronted bookcase on top of it. The bookcase had been separated from the desk and placed in our hall. Whenever I saw the bookcase it was piled to overflowing with unopened brown BMJ packages. I remember, too, how difficult it was to open a roll and how even more difficult it was to straighten the journal out in order to read it. Since my father was faced with a busy general practice in those war torn days of nightly air raids the rolls often ended unopened in the waste paper basket when I got my first chance to play with them.

    In 1952 I entered medical school, and it was not long before we were being encouraged to read our own journals and to take out a subscription for at …

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