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The view from here
On the other side of the curtain
  1. William Angus
  1. Correspondence to Dr William Angus, Department of Intensive Care, Arrowe Park Hospital, Wirral CH49 5PE, UK; william.angus{at}

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As doctors who work within the acute and emergency setting we often try to see ourselves as unflappable in the face of critical illness and major trauma, calm under extreme pressure and cool in the face of a seemingly insurmountable workload. To deal with the relentless conveyor belt of human suffering, tragic illness and life-changing injuries a self-protective sense of ‘this will never happen to me or my loved ones’ can inadvertently develop. I certainly developed this subconscious feeling of being detached from misfortune, thankful that I would never have to suffer a serious diagnosis or deal with an unexpected tragedy.

But this all changed. My wife had given birth to our second child 2 days before, a beautiful baby girl. They were both doing great after a night in the hospital and I had brought them home earlier in the day. Things had been fairly uneventful that afternoon, we relaxed at home trying to readjust to having a newborn again, collected our son …

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  • Contributors WA is the sole author.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.