Intended for healthcare professionals


A memorable patient

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 28 April 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:b5403
  1. Stuart J Fergusson, CT2 in core surgical training, Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast
  1. sjfergusson{at}

    It was a relaxed weekday evening. The day’s emergency surgical take had been light, and I sat down for dinner with my colleagues in the hospital canteen. The evening’s on-call consultant joined us. He was a vascular surgeon, staying late to deal with an overdue amputation. The conversation was carefree, and we headed our separate ways. The patients waiting for theatre were prioritised. First on the list tomorrow would be the man seen earlier with back pain and a large abdominal aortic aneurysm. Computed tomography had reassured us that all was well—no leak. I reclined in the theatre coffee room in the company of the night’s anaesthetist.

    Then the calm of the evening was shattered by the …

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