Dead men don’t bleed

Dr. Malcolm Kendrick

I think I have become a connoisseur of scientific double-think. Swilling the most ridiculous statements around my glass with relish, and enjoying the finest vintages. Last week, whilst I was on holiday, someone sent me a piece about statins and coronary artery calcification. I’m not sure what such people think I do on my holidays – but reading medical reports is not one of them.

However, the moment I read this article, it immediately brought to mind a story about a patient who had a fixed delusion that he was dead. The psychiatrist he was seeing had repeatedly tried, and failed, to get this patient to admit that he was deluded. One day a conversation took place

Psychiatrist:    ‘Would you accept that dead people do not bleed?’

Patient:            ‘Of course.’

Psychiatrist:    Pulling needle from pocket. ‘Would you allow me to prick your thumb to see if you do bleed?’

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