Plain tales from the surgery

Check your Blackberry

I was working for the local out-of-hours service one evening last week.

The first call I triaged on the phone coincidentally happened to be a friend of mine, calling about his eight-year-old son Thomas. Thomas had come home from school with a purple rash on the front of one thigh. He was otherwise completely well in himself, but they were rather concerned about the sudden appearance of what appeared to be a large bruise. I suggested he bring Thomas in.

He had a non-blanching purple patch the size of an orange on his thigh. I prodded and poked the rash, his abdomen and groin, and the rest of the general examination was entirely normal.

I ummed and ahhed and told him that I had no idea what it was and that I had never seen a rash like it, although I was not at all worried. It looked like a port wine stain. I told him I'd look it up and give him a call.

I received a text 30 minutes later from my wife saying: 'Just had Thomas' parents on the phone. They found a load of crushed blackberries in Thomas's trouser pocket; next time you get a weird rash, lick it!'

We were both quite embarrassed but at least I hadn't given him a fob-off diagnosis.

I was nearly right with the port wine stain though.

Dr Martin Yeandle, Gosport, Hampshire

Throw-away medicine
Everything seems to be disposable these days, from scalpels to specula. Little did I realise that the trend had spread into the world of medication.

A patient this week requesting a supply of her 'disposable' aspirin. I can only hope and pray she disposes of them on a full stomach.

Dr Anthony Crofts-Barnes, Ilkeston, Derbyshire

Sharp intake of breath
An elderly female patient attended our practice nurse for her annual COPD review. The nurse encouraged her to use a small spacer with her inhaler.

To the nurse's surprise, the lady announced that she couldn't possibly be seen using one of those; she thought it looked like a penis enhancer.

Dr Celia Lewis, Carlisle, Cumbria

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