Intended for healthcare professionals


A Christmas visit

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: (Published 18 December 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:1472
  1. Chris Thorpe, consultant (
  1. department of anaesthetics, Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor LL57 2PW

    It was a dark and snowy evening, shortly before Christmas, when a woman with respiratory failure at the Eastern General Hospital in Edinburgh became ill enough to merit intensive care. As the hospital did not have an intensive care unit on site, we were called to transfer the patient across to the unit at Western General. A decision had to be made whether to anaesthetise her before transfer or whether to take her across awake—always a tricky decision. I chose the latter as her condition had not deteriorated over the past 24 hours and currently she was stable on supplementary oxygen, although breathless.

    During the15 minute journey across Edinburgh she seemed to be coping reasonably well. In this …

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