I am a better doctor for allowing myself to stop, reflect, and grieveBMJ 2017; 357 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j2950 (Published 20 June 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;357:j2950
Mental health response to disasters and other critical incidents: Free access to BMJ Best Practice topic
- Helgi Johannsson, consultant anaesthetist, clinical director of anaesthesia and theatres12
- 1St Mary’s Hospital, London, UK
- 2Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK
At 3 am on the 14 June 2017 I was woken by the loud, grating ringtone that I use for the St Mary’s Hospital major incident number. After the recent terror attacks in London my colleagues and I had become acutely aware that further major incidents could be on the horizon and I had saved the number into my favourites, allowing it to pierce through my “do not disturb” function.
After a few seconds I worked out what was happening and checked my phone. I had recently set up a WhatsApp group—which was only to be used during a major incident—for my consultant colleagues. I saw it had filled with messages about a fire where we expected mass casualties. I got up, looked out from our balcony and …