Plain Tales From The Surgery

Bitter pill

One of my patients with chronic schizophrenia described a recent dream he had had, in which his GP was actually the rather fierce political interviewer Jeremy Paxman.

'Dr Paxman told me that he had a new medicine to prescribe me called "Endital". He wanted me to take one capsule that night and made it abundantly clear that he didn't want to see me again,' he explained.

I only wish I could occasionally take a similarly firm line with a few of my patients.

  • Dr Anthony Marks, Enfield, Essex

Pure slapstick
A father brought his daughter to me because she had a rash on her buttocks and legs.

As I examined her, he ventured anxiously to ask: 'Is this what is meant by "slapped cheek syndrome"?' 'Not exactly,' I replied, as I explained her dry skin condition.

  • Dr Hilary Allen, Bridgwater, Somerset

Expert tuition
I have a patient, debilitated with a rare dermatological disorder, whose condition has perplexed the 'great and the good' for many years. In desperation, I referred her back to our hospital where she was presented to medical students as an interesting case.

The consultant began a pompous spiel about why her diagnosis was incorrect, since it 'clearly did not fit any of her symptoms or signs'.

He then asked her who diagnosed her. 'You did, last year,' was my patient's response.

  • Dr Rob Rosa, Salisbury, Wiltshire

Massage message
Everyone at my practice is astounded by the skill of the tertiary referral centre which has given a patient an electronically powered, implanted left ventricular assist device.

An 'immediate action notice' for the attention of ambulance crews, or others who may attend our patient, informs us that, as there is a risk that chest compression may disconnect the device, 'external cardiac massage should be used as a last resort'. Lucky they warned us.

  • Dr Jeremy Platt, Bracknell, Berkshire
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