Intended for healthcare professionals

Reviews Personal views

The day my life changed

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: (Published 28 October 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:1089

See also pp 1034 and 1087

Have you ever had an experience that is of such importance that you now view your life in terms of before it and after it? My it was being gang raped.

I was doing voluntary work in a foreign country when it happened. I remember thinking at the time that I was going to die and afterwards wishing that I had. In the moments afterwards, once I realised that I was alive, I made the decision that this would be my terrible secret. The decision made, I switched to automatic pilot and my actions and decisions from then on were carried out with cold detachment. Like any of the medical model management plans, I mentally went through the checklist of everything that needed to be done. For example, first initial assessment of the damage; next deal with the injuries as best as possible; next get back to base; next check for all the possible complications and then deal with each accordingly, and so it went on.

I can now …

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