Friday, July 2, 2010


I called my next patient into the room. She stood up, eyed me suspiciously and said, "You're not Doctor P!" I gave my usual introduction, I'm the medical student with Dr P this morning, do you mind if I see you first and then the doctor will come in after a few minutes?

She relented, and insisted on filling me in on her entire past medical and surgical history before sitting down, so that I understood exactly what I was dealing with. After all, she was very complicated and should only see 'real' doctors - there wasn't much I could help her with.

Some patients can rattle off their medical history like a well-rehearsed speech. This lady had clearly delivered her speech once or twice before, and she got me up to speed within a few minutes. Amongst other things, "I've been pregnant at least twice, if not three times". I didn't ask her to clarify.

In summary, she was booked to have a colonoscopy, but she's had some bad experiences with operations in the past and just wanted some reassurance today. After I'd talked her through the procedure, she looked at me as if I'd just appeared, and said, "I'm so sorry I was rude to you before, love. I really didn't mean to offend you."

I waved off her apology - I wasn't offended (after all, people are rude to me all the time), but she insisted, no really - I think you're lovely. Aw, shucks.

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