Gavin Francis

Gavin Francis is a GP in Edinburgh. His books include Adventures in Human BeingIntensive Care: A GP, a Community and Covid-19 and Recovery: The Lost Art of Convalescence.

Cerebral Hygiene: Sleep Medicine

Gavin Francis, 29 June 2017

An​ apnoea is a cessation of breathing. When sufferers of sleep apnoea enter deep sleep, their airway becomes blocked by the tissues around their throat. They may gasp for air, and stir hundreds of times a night to a level just below conscious awareness. People with sleep apnoea wake up in the morning feeling as if they’ve slept normally, but are chronically tired because their sleep...

Diary: NHS in Crisis

Gavin Francis, 2 March 2017

Management consultant initiatives and stealth privatisations have for years set about the NHS like termites, nibbling away at the beams and struts of a once magnificent structure. But the whole edifice is now on the brink of collapse. If the principles of the NHS are to be defended, we will have to find more money.

Diary: In the Morgue

Gavin Francis, 14 July 2016

A detective inspector​ once told me that the key thing to remember at a crime scene was to keep your hands in your pockets; the temptation to reach out and touch a murder victim, or a potential murder weapon, could be overwhelming. He had little faith in forensic pathologists. ‘I was at a scene where a dead man lay slumped over a desk,’ he told me. ‘There was a...

In November​ 1981 at a function in London, Neville Butler, a professor of paediatric medicine at Bristol University, contrived to drop a cup of coffee at Margaret Thatcher’s feet. He stooped down to mop it up, then sprang up and asked her for money. ‘I’m Professor Butler,’ he’s reported to have said. ‘We’re doing a national study looking at...

On​ my morning commute through Edinburgh I pass a herbalist’s shop opposite the old medical school building. It was established in 1860. The windows are dressed at present with hand-made green paper leaves and a cardboard parrot; there are allergy salves for hay fever, iron tonics for fatigue and slippery elm for heartburn. At the back of one of the windows is a more permanent...

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