Post 49 Medical Emergency at the Music Festival

The weather forecast was for fine, sunny weather so I set off for a walk that included a small hill.It was on the way down that I came a cropper.    Perhaps I simply wasn’t looking where I was going, but one minute I was strolling along without a care in the world, the next I was flying, head-over-heels, onto the stony path.   I escaped with a bruise on my forehead, wounded pride, and broken glasses; they had snapped across the bridge.   I dusted myself off, then patched up my glasses with some adhesive plaster from my first aid kit and resolved to be more careful in the future.  
The next day I joined the small team of doctors, nurses and paramedics that act as the emergency team for a well known music festival.   I form part of a small team of doctors, nurses and paramedics from both the county ambulance service and the St John's Ambulance Brigade.

 Our brief is to provide immediate resuscitation and triage should an emergency arise in the crowd.   We are supported by a ‘snatch s…

Post 48 The 'On-duty' Rota 1968. Do consultants behave like this today?

I applied for a post as a junior doctor for a newly appointed consultant physician and was fortunate to be appointed.
The day after I started, I met another, more senior consultant, on the corridor.
‘I understand that you are now on the on-call rota,’ he said, pleasantly enough.
‘Yes, Sir, I am,’ I replied in a suitably deferential fashion.

‘Then I want you to know that if there is a problem with any of my patients, you can call me at any
Then he looked me straight in the eye. ‘Until eleven o’clock.’

This reminiscence by Dr Peter Barnes is taken from ’The Class of ‘61’ which reflects on the lives of the young men and women who joined the Manchester Medical School as ‘freshers’ in 1961.It is available from Amazon.

Post 47 The Doctor and the Car Mechanic

Brian was in his fifties and recovering from a heart attack but he also had mitral valve disease and was an ideal patient for teaching students. He enjoyed being the subject and the centre of attention. I introduced him to a group of undergraduate students and took them through the basics of history taking before getting on to clinical examination and auscultation of the heart.

Before being discharged, he told me that he was grateful for the care he had been given, that he ran a local garage and that if my car ever needed attention, I should take it to him. A month or two later, my elderly Renault was clearly in need of attention so I made an appointment and took it to Brian. He took the car into his workshop and offered me a coffee. After about half an hour he came back, a smile on his face.

‘Do you remember teaching those students with me?’ he asked.

‘I do, we went through your story and they listened to your heart,’ I said.

‘What impressed me,’ he continued, ‘was when you were tal…