Plain Tales from the Surgery

Vanish varnish
A lovely old gentleman came to see me recently and just as he was about to leave he asked me what he could use to remove a blood stain from the lining of his jacket. I suggested Vanish.

He looked puzzled and said: 'Are you sure, varnish?'

I realised he hadn't heard me properly so I shouted: 'Vanish!'

To this he replied: 'That's a bit harsh doc. If you want me to go there are nicer ways to ask.'

Dr Janet Paton, Bo'ness, Falkirk

Sign chatting
I went to visit a 90-year-old patient who was both deaf and blind. She was looked after by her sister, who communicated with her through sign language.

I was discussing the management plan with her sister when I saw my patient signing away in the background. I drew attention to this, thinking the patient was keen to tell us something.

The sister smiled and said: 'Oh no, she often does that, she's just talking to herself.'

Dr Louise Page, West Bridgford, Nottingham

Jargon free
Keeping patients informed about their condition is important, but information can be presented in ways that are not entirely helpful.

Recently a patient came in with a hospital letter, which read: 'The result of the MRI scan shows dilated large lateral and third ventricles. There are also multifocal high signal changes. I will be discussing the films with our neuroradiology team before deciding whether to go ahead with the third ventriculostomy.'

I'm not sure I fully understood the letter, so the poor patient who received it with no explanation was quite stumped.

Dr Jackie Mobbs, Elgin, Morayshire

Mistaken identity
In a hectic morning surgery I glanced at the screen to check a patient's name and walked to the waiting room to greet him. 'Robert Mugabe', I called.

There was no answer so I called louder: 'Robert Mugabe.'

A ripple of sniggers could be heard, and a patient whose name was similar stood up and gruffly asked: 'Do I look like an African dictator?'

Always remember to read the screen carefully.

Dr Rob Rosa, Downton, Wiltshire.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus