LONDON – During a visit to Kensington Medical Centre, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson cheerily botched a routine tracheotomy. Johnson mugged for the onlooking press as hacked inartfully at the throat of a patient stricken with COVID-19. The visit was designed to calm Britons’ fears about the epidemic and show solidarity with the nation’s health professionals.
Mr. Johnson had been touring one of the intensive care unit wards when Richard Broadworth, 78, was wheeled in. Mr. Broadworth had been admitted into the hospital two days before and tested positive for COVID-19. As doctors prepared to hook him up to one of the hospital’s few ventilators, Mr. Johnson asked if he could “have a go at it,” to the delight of the assembled crowd.
Mr. Johnson started by accidentally puncturing the patient’s larynx before slightly nicking his carotid artery. As his hands became increasingly slippery with blood, he managed to drop the scalpel multiple times, but continued to joke with the doctors and nurses on hand. With the patient writhing and gasping for air, Mr. Johnson quipped that “this is harder than it looks” before pointing roguishly at a photograph and saying “you’re next!”
The Prime Minister has cultivated a charmingly oafish persona since the beginning of his public life. From getting stuck on a zipline to knocking over a small child during a friendly game of rugby, Mr. Johnson has endeared himself to the British public with his clumsy exploits.
A Tory spokesperson later confirmed that the patient had died, but added that “the British people are willing to make whatever sacrifice is necessary against this terrible disease.”