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He saw perspectives of heads – gunshot wounds – seen from above and a little behind, as they’d lie on the tables; with the pad over their mouths, but they still all accused him of murder. On off-nights he had orderlies whispering to him to wake up and give some poor beggar a chance to live. Then they’d waggle his foot, and he’d wake up grateful for the pain, and change the dressings. His foot was in a filthy state…


This is from “The Tender Achilles” in Limits and Renewals.

Wilkie, a brilliant surgeon and research scientist, has had a breakdown as a result of his experiences of operating under pressure on badly wounded soldiers from the trenches. He is later shocked back into sanity by his colleagues, who make a deliberate error in diagnosing an injury of his, so as to reawaken his overweening professional pride.