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I was interested to read the BMJ Christmas issue article of a ‘record breaking thoracoplasty’ of Eddie Spiegelhalter in 1947. My grandfather had the same procedure in 1943 at the age of 32 in an RAF hospital in Bristol as radical treatment for tuberculosis. I know that he had a lung and several ribs removed under ‘local’. He was given a few weeks to live, but met my grandmother in his recovery and they married 6 weeks after meeting. The rest as they say is history. Both he, but also those of us of the next 2 generations in my family owe their lives to the pioneers who championed this procedure. As an anaesthetist in training, I find it difficult to fathom how they managed this procedure at the time and how it was done under local. I am forever grateful for their endeavours. My grandfather lived until the age of 87, 56 years after this procedure.