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This is the experience of Mr Faulkner (figure 1A,B) who worked as a research scientist at the Ministry of Defence, UK, and experienced three quite different causes of respiratory failure over the course of his lifetime: (a) altitude hypoxia, (b) myasthenia gravis and (c) pulmonary embolism (PE). The narratives of his subjective experiences are interspersed with what is known about the pathophysiology of respiratory failure and the sensation of breathlessness. Mr Faulkner's experiences draw several parallels with the career of the late Professor John Newsom-Davis (figure 1C) and the depth of knowledge of both the physiology of breathing and myasthenia gravis.1
Decompression chamber training at Royal Aircraft Establishment Facility
‘All research scientists in military aviation at the Aeroplane and …
In memory of Professor John Newsom-Davis
Patient consent Obtained.
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed. We are grateful to Robin Howard, London, UK, for reviewing this manuscript.