Intended for healthcare professionals

Personal Views

The Soho bomb

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 22 May 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:1429
  1. R I P Dornan, locum consultant in anaesthesia
  1. London

    We live our crowded lives on the assumption that our neighbours will hold to certain rules. They will not bring guns to our schools, nor glass into our food, nor bombs into our pubs and marketplaces. For the most part, we live safe in our assumptions.

    The bomb was like nothing I had ever heard and yet it could not be mistaken for anything else. The world stretched and compressed like the opening of a Speilberg film with the sound turned off and time itself sputtered and raced like a poorly balanced video.

    My entire career had been trained for this moment and now I had no equipment

    The clap of thunder, the faces, and the impulse to run—where? Towards or away from the sound?

    Later, an American medic would astonish me by just standing in the street—perhaps he was used to firefights in Los Angeles and did not understand our fear of a second bomb. Or perhaps he was the bravest man I shall ever meet.

    The victims from inside the pub were easily spotted—all had the wide open …

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