Plain Tales from the Surgery

Memory lapse

My last patient at the end of a busy Friday morning surgery was the concerned daughter of an elderly woman who was worried about her mum's memory.

We agreed that I would call the octogenarian to discuss the matter.

As this telephone call came to an end, I felt myself being persuaded by the lady that her daughter was perhaps a little slightly over-concerned.

However, when she finished the call with 'I didn't realise that you worked on Sundays', I quickly changed tac and reached for my MMSE table.

Dr Andy Cohen, Bushey Heath, Hertfordshire

Mouth of babes
Passing through the reception area I noted that both duty receptionists were busy answering the phones on a hectic morning.

To help out I spoke to the family waiting for attention. After taking their names I marked on the computer in reception the fact that they were present.

The seven-year-old daughter then turned to the waiting room and announced in a loud voice: 'That man used to be a doctor.'

I was not sure whether she thought that I had been promoted or demoted.

Dr George Munro, Belmont, Durham City

Bag lady
I had the following disclosure from a receptionist who told me of an experience when she was handed a sample bottle full of stools and a carrier bag full of faeces by a patient.

Apparently, the bottle was too small for all of the stools to fit in.

Sadly, but understandably, the carrier bag was not recycled.

Dr Kamal Sidhu, Newcastle upon Tyne

Heated discussion
One of my partners had a discussion with a woman patient who wanted pain relief for her back sprain; she asked for a prescription of inflammables. The patient was pleased to receive her ibuprofen, but then asked if there were any side effects. She was told to watch out for any feeling of burning in the chest.

Dr Richard Edwards, Castle Vale, Birmingham

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