Plain Tales from the Surgery

Some time ago, after examining a lady who presented with epigastric pain, I made a presumptive diagnosis of gastritis and explained to her and her worried relatives that this is an inflammation of the lining of the stomach.

I was immediately told: 'No, it can't be doctor.'

I was somewhat taken aback and asked: 'Why not?'

Their reply was: 'Well, she doesn't have a stomach. She had an operation and had everything taken away.'

Her relatives were very relieved when I explained that she would have only had her womb, tubes and ovaries removed, but where they thought her food went after she swallowed it is still a mystery to me.

Dr Janet Paton, Bo'ness, Falkirk

A lady in her late seventies came to the surgery having fallen in the street. She had tripped and fallen forward on to the pavement. Nothing worse than a few bruises were found, but as she left she stated that the event had dented her confidence. I told her that if she had not been distracted she would probably not have fallen. What was it that so distracted her, I wondered?

'I saw a girl on the other side of the road in six-inch high heels and I thought: "How can she possibly walk in those?"'

Dr Kevin Brown, Bideford, Devon

Watching a patient sign a form in surgery, I casually mentioned that the gene for left-handedness has now been found.

'That's great,' she said without looking up, 'I didn't know it had been lost.'

Dr David Carvel, Biggar, Lanarkshire

My partner took a message on her mobile from a flustered receptionist requesting a visit for Mr Brown. 'His wife says he's dead upstairs,' the message read. My partner rushed to the house and ran upstairs.

A clearly alive patient was in bed. The mistake became apparent to my colleague when the patient's wife said 'I can't understand why your receptionist was so concerned when I told her he was in bed upstairs.'

Dr Charles Hendy, Bolton, Greater Manchester.

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