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The Secret Doctor

  • When you have to let go

    It feels as though every few months there’s another harrowing court case involving cessation of life-prolonging care in a young child.
  • Heard the one about the surgeon?

    Anyone who spends any time at all on medical Facebook groups, blogs or Twitter will have noticed that inter-specialty rivalry is a recurring theme.
  • Not a zebra in sight

    There has been a lot of pressure on the health service to cut down admin costs during the past few years. Sadly, this has frequently meant sacking, or devaluing, hard-working medical secretaries and ward clerks.
  • Saving lives unnoticed

    Gratitude is a wonderful thing, but in medicine it’s often weirdly disproportionate to the service rendered. As a junior doctor in neonates, I had to attend dozens of deliveries: every instrumental, every slightly premature birth, every faintly meconium-stained liquor. Nine times out of ten, the baby would be completely fine. The obstetrician would pass it over and I’d dry it, do a quick check, and then...
  • What ‘poorly’ really means

    Before I went to medical school, ‘poorly’ sounded almost cosy, suited to the kind of ailment that might be dealt with by means of a hot water bottle and a nice glass of warm milk.