Plain Tales from the Surgery

Heart of the matter
I was recently examining a new patient who had come in for a routine BP check.

As he appeared to be on a multitude of cardiovascular drugs, I asked him about his medical history, but he vehemently denied any ill health now or at any time in the past. Specifically, he denied any operations.

However, I couldn't help but notice his median sternotomy scar and asked again whether he was sure he had never been under the knife.

He thought long and hard and said: 'Yes, I remember now. My heart wasn't working very well so I had it removed.'

I must say he looked remarkably well on it - according to him he had been heart-free for 15 years.

Dr Stephanie Hughes, Havant, Hampshire

Comic relief?
A patient attended an urgent appointment for her young son. She looked at me accusingly and told me that her son had been sick on the bus on the way to the surgery.

I made sympathetic noises but my heart sank when she began to rummage around in a selection of carrier bags. I felt sure that I was about to be shown the vomit.

Instead she pulled out a large clean T-shirt and said: 'While I'm here, doctor, can you tell me whether the shop will take this back? It's too big for my son.'

I was speechless, and took some time to get her back on to the subject of her son's illness. The logo on the T-shirt? Comic Relief.

Dr Christine Voyce, St Albans, Hertfordshire

OOH, young man

A young man presented with concerns about his fertility and asked how he could be tested.

Quick as a flash I replied: 'It's quite simple. Take a pot, label it, abstain from ejaculating for three days then ring the lab and tell them when you're coming ...'

Dr Mark Saville, Waterlooville, Hampshire

A tale of two doctors
The automated patient call system at a practice where I was working as a locum directed a patient to proceed to the 'Dr Locum's room'.

Eventually the patient arrived, and he stated that he had become lost because he did not know where Dr Locum's room was located.

Indeed, he said that he had thought it was a peculiar name to have.

I thought he was joking, and so I agreed with him.

But his continual reference to me as Dr Locum throughout the consultation actually became the catalyst for me to ask some more questions, revealing classical concrete thinking and leading to a referral.

A few weeks later, a diagnosis of schizophrenia was made.

Dr Shaun McBride, County Antrim.

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