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Chris Johnstone's Career Focus article on burnout (BMJ, 1 May 1999) struck a chord with me as I had recently downshifted from the chaos of trauma surgery.
Unlike Dr Johnstone, it was not a respiratory tract infection which took me out of the fast lane; it was the discovery from a long overdue medical check up that I was hypertensive. Sadly, I am unlikely the first or the last professional person who has demanded a nice, unequivocal diagnosis before accepting that physical and emotional resources were buckling under the prevailing demands.
For 12 years I headed a paediatric trauma unit. The profile of trauma care in South Africa is well known, and the …