Anaesthetists and intensivists are acutely aware of the potent side effects of most of their drugs, but the latent hazards of some our most valued life-saving treatments are increasingly evident. This dichotomy is no more apparent than with blood transfusion, which can be life saving but also can have serious adverse effects including infection and immunomodulation. This is highlighted in the editorial by Webster (pages 280–2), who suggests that more caution and risk-benefit assessments are justified. Awareness of the harmful effects of oxygen, the sine qua non for aerobic life, has also taken hold, in part derived from knowledge gained from extreme physiology experiments, such as research expeditions to Mount Everest. In their editorial, Berger & Grocott summarize the implications of findings on high altitude exposure producing adaptations to hypoxaemia for medicine and critical care, while...

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