Plain tales from the surgery

Mistaken identity

Our senior partner has a rule that if a patient asks for a visit on successive days for the same complaint, then hospitalisation should be considered.

The new registrar went to see Mr Smith - a known malingerer - because the patient had complained of abdominal pain.

On arrival he found a cheerful Mr Smith enjoying daytime TV.

'Have you got still got any pain?' asked the registrar.

'Oh yes, Doctor,' he replied.

The registrar had noticed that the day before, the patient had also asked for a visit for bellyache. Mr Smith was thus sent to the surgical assessment unit and seemed pleased about it.

In the evening the practice received an angry telephone call. 'Why has nobody called to see my husband. He has been in pain all day?' demanded Mrs Smith.

We pointed out to our registrar that the practice had more than one patient called 'Smith'.

Dr Kausar Jafri, Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire


A 51-year-old woman presented complaining of dyspareunia. She had had no period for about three years. Examination confirmed atrophic vaginitis and she was prescribed topical oestrogen.

As she was leaving, she muttered: 'I thought I was going through the menopause well, but I should have known there would be a sting in the tail.'

Literally and metaphorically, it would seem.

Dr John McKelvey, Ballymena, County Antrim


I received the following letter about a patient of mine who was referred for Clozaril monitoring:

'The Home Treatment Service started monitoring initiation for a two-week duration. We started with twice daily observations, reducing to once daily for the second week. There were reports of side-effects; headache and a bit of dizziness but all appeared fine. The patient did have a fall which resulted in a broken arm.'

Thank goodness he was being monitored, is all I can say.

Dr Tim Billington, Lordshill, Southampton


I was left speechless the other day, when a patient rang to enquire if we would provide him with oxygen for his 'diving equipment'.

Dr Thomas Busch, Boston, Lincolnshire.

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