Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Being a patient

It is commonly said that doctors make terrible patients. You can imagine why, they know a lot, and often think they know even more than they actually do. So when it comes to them being ill, most of the time they'll know what is wrong, know how they want it treated and in some cases probably treat it themselves. This goes against the GMC's Good Medical Practice and for good reason. When looking at yourself, at the best of times you can be wrong, even more so when you're ill. It's far better to seek an objective and independent view from another clinician who can then treat you appropriately.

[That concludes the medical ethics lesson for today]

As medical students we're probably even worse, our knowledge is generally far better than your average Joe Patient but not up to the standard of the doctors around us. Couple this with the usual hypochondriac tendencies of medical students who, after each teaching session, come away thinking they've got one obscure disease after another. It's a recipe for potential disaster or at the very least, embarrassment.

Or is it?.... Today I went to my GP. I'd already diagnosed myself and asked a doctor on my placement to have a look at my 'problem'. I sat in the waiting room reading a book about medical careers. It's a while since I've been to a GP, in fact, I've not been for anything significant since starting medical school. When it came to my turn, I went into the room, the GP was very pleasant, she asked me why I was there to which I replied with my presenting complaint, followed by the entire history of the presenting complaint. By this time she must have twigged about me being a medical student as I wasn't using your typical 'lay person' language. She took a quick look at my throat and confirmed my diagnosis of tonsillitis, she then asked me which antibiotic I thought I should have to which I replied 'Penicillin please', she checked that I wasn't allergic, and said that she assumed I'd know the importance of completing the course. Finally after handing me the prescription she said it's probably best if I stay away from the paediatric ward for a couple of days. The whole process took less than a minute, it was probably her quickest consultation of the day and I was completely satisfied.

So as I sit here with tonsillitis, barely able to swallow, taking my antibiotics 4 times a day, what better way to waste away the time than reading blogs. Perhaps I should do some work instead. I quite enjoyed my experience of being a patient, I am bloody fed up of being ill though! Especially because everyone thinks I'm skiving!

[sorry about the picture of my minging mouth, I was just hoping for some sympathy]


HospitalPhoenix said...
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HospitalPhoenix said...

Just a thought, but I hope your GP took a glandular fever test.

the little medic said...
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HospitalPhoenix said...
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MJ said...

Beautifully revolting tonsils! You know I've actually had people attend A&E with tonsils less inflamed than yours classifying it as an emergency!

It's a strange world and yes, doctors make hopeless patients. I discovered that when I went to A&E to get my burn dressed. I was telling my registrar how to do it!?! And after that I gave the staff nurse advice on self-care for burns. Needless to say, they weren't impressed.


j00ni said...

Mmmm lovely pic, though I reckon I could beat it, the state of my tonsils atm.

I specifically went to a GP who didn't know I was a med student - I was feeling grotty and it's nice to be taken care of without being expected to self-diagnose. I very nearly blew my cover by questioning his choice to give me amoxicillin though lol

HospitalPhoenix said...

Haha, NEVER give a young tonsillitis patient amoxycillin!

Just for the record, I have no tonsils. And I don't miss them one bit.

Calavera said...

Aww, you'll get well soon.

I hate being the patient, too. It's so weird.

Now, for some reason, I avoid telling anyone - my doctor or the nurse etc - that I'm a medical student.

Anonymous said...

not tonsillitis but a faucal ulcer probably viral. nowt like mononucleosis either, so would be a waste of a blood test

Anonymous said...

ulcer dude