A smoking cat?
I recently saw a young mother who had booked an appointment for her toddler who had been experiencing breathing difficulties.
Before the appointment I had noticed that she had been standing outside the surgery having a cigarette. After examining the toddler I confirmed that it was asthma and took this opportunity for health promotion.
Her smoking, I pointed out, could be harmful to her child's delicate airways and she should consider giving up. She was told that help was available for her by booking in with the practice nurse.
However, just 10 minutes later I caught a glimpse of her in the surgery car park. Mobile phone in hand and another cigarette in her mouth, I could hear her bellowing: 'Doctor said it was asthma - the cat will have to go.'
Dr Kausar Jafri, Stoke on Trent, Stoke
While I was training as a GP a number of years ago, working in a busy A&E department, one of those magical moments occurred when everyone suddenly stopped talking at once and a complete silence fell.
A young doctor was approaching an elderly patient to perform a phlebotomy, and across the department echoed the immortal exchange: 'Just a little prick with a needle.'
Which was then followed by: 'I know you are but what are you going to do to me?'
Dr Eric Pennington, Birmingham
A young man recently registered with our practice and, after the usual introductions, he announced that he thought he might have a problem with his ears.
Interested to find out more about this, I asked him: 'What are the symptoms?'
He hesitated for a moment looking rather puzzled and then he replied: 'It's a cartoon series on Channel 4, doctor, why do you ask?'
Naturally, I referred him to a specialist.
Dr Simon J Shaw, Preston, Lancashire
- We pay £25 for each Plain Tale published. Please mark entries 'Plain Tales' and send them to GPletters@haymarket.com with your contact details.