Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews Laying Foundations

The agony of choice

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 02 September 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f5344
  1. Oliver Ellis, foundation year 1 doctor, Mersey Deanery
  1. oli.ellis{at}

I was 18 when I had to undergo an emergency laparotomy. I was half delirious with pain and painkillers when a cheery anaesthetist bounded in.

“Would you like an epidural or a morphine pump when you wake up?” she asked with a big smile. “The morphine might make you feel sick, but the epidural carries a risk of nerve damage!”

Fortunately, I ended up having two emergency laparotomies that year so I got to try both. But many people aren’t that lucky, and get stuck with the ill informed choices they …

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