Plain Tales from the Surgery

Creative summaries

Our A&E department sends us very concise details of our patients' attendances, mostly indicating only the presenting complaint and the outcome.

Some of these stretch the imagination as to what really happened and need translation.

One summary outlined the patient's problem as 'FB in eye', treated by 'peritoneal lavage', while another stated that the patient presented with 'a dental abscess' ...

and ended up 'being transferred to the specialist unit with a fractured skull'.

Dr Libby Scott, Wakefield, West Yorkshire

Rash explanation
A man came to see me complaining of a rash on his leg; I had a look and diagnosed ringworm. His eyes lit up and he exclaimed: 'Ringworm! I know how I caught that, a dog peed on my leg a few weeks ago.'

Dr John Chen, Salford, Manchester

Ridiculous complaint
I received notification of a complaint in which a patient objected to my description of her arm pain as 'ridiculous' in a referral letter. What I had actually dictated was 'this lady has radicular pain in her left arm'. Fortunately I was able to prove this.

Dr Vivian Stevens, Warminster, Wiltshire

The price of silence
I visited an elderly patient and, after a chat, asked her to keep quiet while I checked her BP by putting the electronic sphygmomanometer on her arm.

Her husband asked how much the machine cost. I said they are not expensive and asked if he wanted to keep an eye on his wife's BP? 'No doctor,' he replied. 'I just wanted to keep her quiet.'

Dr Bipul K Mitra, Seaham, Co Durham

Jurassic nausea
A middle-aged patient came to see me for a review of her pelvic pain. She explained that she had been prescribed 'metro-dinosaur' but suffered nausea after taking it.

Our PCT would certainly not approve of such prehistoric medication; it usually recommends metronidazole.

Dr Qaiser Mangi, Herne Bay, Kent

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