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[Wakley Prize Essay] Lifelines

Martin was 52 years old, an ordinary man. But he had been through a divorce—unwanted on his part—estrangement from his children, exile in a town 500 miles from his home, the loss of his job as a foreman, temporary work, and then unemployment. Finally—for as Shakespeare wrote when sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions—he endured the loss of his bowel after an extensive mesenteric infarction caused by heavy smoking. Martin needed an almost complete small bowel resection with anastomosis of the first few centimetres of the jejunum to the transverse colon.