“The call we all dread…”

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: (Published 18 September 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:663
  1. Nikant K Sabharwal, cardiology research fellow,
  2. E Jane Chapman, head of clinical risk and legal services (
  1. Northwick Park Hospital, Harrow, Middlesex

    It was a routine night on call. The medical team were contemplating turning in for the night when, as usual, the cardiac arrest bleep shattered our calm. We charged up to one of the surgical wards to find a not unusual scene. An elderly patient was undergoing basic life support from the nursing staff. The team assembled around the patient and got to work with advanced life support. At this point all was going according to plan.

    At our request, the patient's current notes, old notes, and drug chart duly arrived, and we then made a hurried …

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