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A body, washed up

They found it washed up on the beach. The two boys spent the morning fishing for crabs and skimming stones over the bay when they came across its body. They ran shouting for their parents. The ambulance, when it came, took it away before anyone else could see.

In the hospital the doctors tried to revive it. They tried to enliven it with fluids and drugs, tried to invigorate its paralysed limbs, but it didn’t respond. It just lay, languidly buffeted by the spume of the bed sheets, just as it had been buffeted by the sea.

The experts came and went, but no one knew what to do. Eventually they shuffled it into a side room and waited for it to die.

As it lay in its mattress grave, a junior doctor wrote its name on the white board outside its door. ‘The BMA’.

Dr Kevin Hinkley is a GP in Aberdeen