Doc Martin is a British television medical comedy drama series about Dr Martin Ellingham, who was a vascular surgeon until he developed haemophobia, forcing him to stop practicing surgery. The show revolves around him being a general practitioner (GP) in Portwenn.
Haemophobia is the term for the fear of blood. While some people may feel uneasy about blood from time to time, haemophobia is an extreme fear of seeing blood, or getting tests where blood may be involved. This phobia can have a serious impact on your life, especially if you skip important doctor appointments as a result.
Haemophobia symptoms may be triggered by seeing blood in real life or on television. Some people may feel symptoms after thinking about blood or certain medical procedures, like a blood test.
Physical symptoms triggered by this phobia may include:
Rapid heart rate
Tightness or pain in chest
Shaking or trembling
Feeling nauseated around blood or injury
Hot or cold flashes
Emotional symptoms may include:
Extreme feelings of anxiety or panic
Overwhelming need to escape situations where blood is involved
Detachment from self or feeling “unreal”
Feeling like you’ve lost control
Feeling like you may die or pass out
Feeling powerless over your fear
Hemophobia is unique because it can also produce what’s called a vasovagal response. A vasovagal response means a sudden drop in heart rate and blood pressure leading to fainting, often in reaction to a stressful trigger.
Maybe Dr Martin is working in the wrong industry! Perhaps though, working as a GP allows him to try and face his fear in a less intense environment than as a surgeon. At LTT we’ve had students come into our training centres with fears of needles or blood, but more often than not they have been able to overcome their fear and complete the course!