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Julehistorie i BMJ: Toxicological analysis of George’s marvellous medicine: literature review
Af Simon Tulloch, chefkonsulent, psykolog, Dansk Selskab for Patientsikkerhed
One of the great pleasures of having children, or indeed grandchildren, is the opportunity to read stories to them. In the UK, the most well-known (and well-loved) children’s author is called Roald Dahl. Dahl has written dozens of books, many of which (just likes Beatles songs or Churchill quotes) have become part of the national psyche. Ask any UK citizen about the ‘Big Friendly Giant’, or ‘Fantastic Mister Fox’, and their eyes will light up and they will undoubtedly smile before they begin to explain who these great characters are. You can read more about these, and other great stories here: https://www.roalddahl.com/home/grown-ups
One of the most fascinating books by Dahl is titled: ‘George’s Marvellous Medicine’ in which a young boy (George) makes a magic potion out of things he finds in his house such as toothpaste, paraffin, curry powder, engine oil, and much, much more… When these ingredients are mixed together, they lead to some amazing results!
George’s Marvellous Medicine was first published in 1981, in a time when it was taken for granted that people knew the difference between fiction and reality, however, in later editions, a warning needed to be included “WARNING TO READERS: Do not try to make George’s Marvellous Medicine yourselves at home. It could be dangerous.”
In the 2020 Christmas edition of the BMJ, Graham Johnson (consultant in emergency and paediatric medicine) and Patrick Davies (consultant in paediatric intensive care) decide to ignore this warning and share with the readers what the clinical outcomes would be if you were to make this strange concoction (AND CONSUME IT!). To add an extra element of fun to the experience, the article is ‘interactive’, i.e., you can add different combinations of ingredients to make your own ‘marvellous medicine’ and see what the clinical outcomes would be, for example, nausea, vomiting, convulsions, kidney injury, etc.
Now, if that’s not the perfect festive activity to bring the family together, I don’t know what is!
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