Views & Reviews In and out of hospital

Forceps at dawn

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 13 September 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:566
  1. James Owen Drife, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology, Leeds
  1. j.o.drife{at}

    In one of his early films David Niven was a doctor in an Alpine sanatorium. Barbara Stanwyck was his patient, a beautiful concert pianist dying from consumption. When she became distressed in the night he appeared immediately, hair immaculately parted, his face filled with debonair concern.

    This scene from an otherwise forgettable movie often comes to mind as the phone beside my bed lets rip with its infernal ringing and vibrating. (At 3 am, why do the …

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