Do not think your doctor is stupid. And your nurse is probably the best thing that ever happened to you.

We do have a degree in medical science. Do not underestimate our analytical skills, and please do not confuse my countless nights pulling all-nighters with a google search, however extensive it might be. Also, when you come in requesting a certain medication because you are allergic to everything else or ‘the other painkillers don’t seem to touch the pain’, you are fooling no one. You are not going to get IV morphine on demand for the pain in your little toe, and you are definitely not going to go home with your entonox (gas-and-air) cylinder for your menstrual cramps. Do not bother asking because you will be met with a stare that will be equal parts confused and equal parts contemptuous.

Please do not lie to us when we ask you questions about your medical history. We do not do it for entertainment at 2 am (however entertaining it may or may not be) we do it to genuinely rule in or rule out certain diagnoses, and to stop you from suing us, should we miss something. Also, a bit of help from you would go a long way. When asked if you have any prior medical history or any significant medical problems, and you say no, and then when we move on to the next question of whether you take any medications regularly, and you start reeling off the names of 21 medications indicating you suffer from everything in a medical textbook except for a shattered pelvis (lucky!) you will be met with the afore-mentioned stare. Well maybe just contemptuous this time.

And lastly, a particular bugbear for me: Accident & Emergency means exactly that and nothing else. Accident. And. Emergency. So the reason for coming to A&E should either be A) Accident, or E) Emergency, or in rare cases C) Accident AND Emergency, if you are unfortunate enough to have your car collide with an oncoming truck while you have a heart attack (hey, it has happened!). But it is not if your prescription ran out 17 days ago and you were too lazy to pick it up from your doctors during the day, or the rest of the week. It is not for the cough you have had for the past 3 years (“Do you smoke?” “Yes, a pack a day for the past 40 years.”) or the pain in your ankle that you come in for today, but tell the triage nurse “Well it all began 19 weeks back…” I repeat. Contempt.

Rant over. Well, for now atleast.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *