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Die another day

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 14 April 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:912
  1. Mary Mather, consultant paediatrician (
  1. Bexley Care Trust

The last post before Christmas is normally mercifully free of bills, drug company circulars, and missives about the latest Department of Health targets. Apart from a few last-minute Christmas cards, the outside world has finally shut down for the holidays. The letter from the Royal College of Physicians commiserating with my husband on my recent death and asking him to organise my obituary was therefore a little unexpected to say the least.

The bad news, after I had recovered from the impact of my unexpected death, was the long bank holiday, which meant that I had to remain “dead” for at least four more days. There was, however, always the internet, that irreplaceable electronic encyclopaedia of useless trivia and perverse facts. Here I discovered that my name had also been removed from the General Medical Council website. If my death had been registered on the world wide web then I must really be a very deceased doctor.

The good news was that my family had effortlessly discovered the annual Christmas wind up. “You're looking remarkably well for a dead person, Lazarus, but avoid spirits and stick to wine just in case.” There are endless variations on the subject of death to entertain a family that has six doctors and one medical student with too much time on their hands …

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