Intended for healthcare professionals


Northern Ireland—poetic sectarianism

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 10 June 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:1414
  1. Kishor Choudhari, consultant neurosurgeon
  1. Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast

    During my decade of neurosurgical experience in Northern Ireland, I became fairly used to managing patients involved in sectarian skirmishes. Most patients were young lads with a Northern Irish accent, usually victims of violent incidents like stone throwing, assaults, or even punishment beatings. The commonest type of injuries were long bone fractures, “knee-cappings,” and depressed fractures of the skull. Generally, the patients were conscious when admitted on to the neurosurgical wards. Contrary to what one would have expected, they showed hardly any of the religious hatred that would be a natural reaction, in such circumstances, anywhere else in the world. They were, surprisingly, very friendly, cooperative with the staff, and had …

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