Plain tales from the surgery

Needless colonoscopy

'This lady attended for colonoscopy ... the results of which are as follows:

'Sedation: lignocaine throat spray.

'Findings: oesophagus, stomach and duodenum were all normal.'


Dr Susanna Timmins, Shenfield, Essex

Side-effect of acne 'pill'
A mother brought her 15-year-old son to see me about his acne. Having very clear ideas and expectations, she seemed to know what was best for him.

'My friend got the Pill from her doctor, and her complexion is now as clear as a peeled hard-boiled egg.'

Needing to clarify her request, I ventured, 'When you mentioned the Pill, do you mean the contraceptive pill?'

'Yes,' was the confident reply.

'I see. It may give your son a smooth complexion, but it may also help him grow breasts,' I explained

They were still laughing as they walked through my door, certainly without a prescription of the Pill!

Dr Dawn Yaw, Whitehaven, Cumbria

A cough and a wheeze
It looked as if it was going to be a rather dull morning until an elderly lady arrived. Her symptoms included shortness of breath, cough and 'being chesty'.

I asked her 'Do you wheeze?'

'Oh yes,' was her answer, 'every time I cough I pass water.'

Dr Pete Rowan, Diss, Norfolk

A sharp observation
After a painful 360-degree assessment in which I was rated 'unkempt' and 'somewhat scruffy' I struggled to figure out what was going wrong.

While reflecting on it, I was called to the ward to 'talk down' a delirious old lady. After half an hour, she declared furiously 'you're a wicked man'. Then, with a look of horror, she observed 'and you have a wicked beard!'

One milligram of lorazepam later, the patient was back in her bed, and after a few months of shaving, my follow-up 360-degree assessment was spotless.

Dr Tom Nichols, Oxford

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