Screw Telephone Consults

July 17, 2009 at 17:42 1 comment

I hate it when patients and their relatives insist on talking to me over the phone. It’s not as if I can magically recall who they are, what they were diagnosed with, what medicine they’re taking and when they last saw me. It’s also not as if I’m hanging around with a glass of iced tea and nothing to do. I have ward rounds, clinics, family sessions and tutorials to attend, as well as medical reports, meetings and research. I know I’m expected to provide kind, effective and cheery (and free) medical advice on tap, but it’s not always possible to do that.

An example:

Patient’s Relative: Hello, Dr. Katie? This is Mrs. Unknown’s daughter-in-law! (pauses expectantly for me to hulloo in delighted recognition)

Me: Uh, hi. So sorry, but I can’t really place you in my memory. What is your mother-in-law’s name again?

PR: Oh. It’s Mrs. Unknown. You know. You saw her once before, two months ago. Don’t you remember?

Me: My apologies. The problem with phone consults is that it’s not possible for the case notes to appear immediately, so I do need to ask you some…

PR: (interrupting) Oh, it’s OK. Why don’t you go and find her file now. Then you call me back.

Me: (thinks: how very considerate of you. Of course I shall personally dash down to the medical records office immediately, hunt down the case notes, read everything and call you back for a nice long cosy chat, and meanwhile my twenty-five-patient clinic will run itself, because everyone else pales in comparison to your supreme importance) Perhaps I could ask you some questions first. What illness does your mother-in-law have?

PR: Oh. I don’t know.

Me: Hmm. What medicines is she taking then?

PR: Oh. I’m not sure either. You see, I’m out shopping.

Me: Okayyyy… what seems to be the problem?

PR: I want to know – why is it that she’s only taken a glass of milk and some cereal today?

I try to be nice. I really do. But there are times when all I want to do is run amok with a nice hard baseball bat and crack a few thick skulls.


Entry filed under: Dear Diary. Tags: .

Randomness Crabbiness

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. zensojourner  |  July 20, 2009 at 20:16



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Welcome to my blog!

My blog-name is Katie but I will not respond if you call me that in real life because it's not my real name. Yes, I do practise virtual-world paranoia. No, I do not enjoy stalkers. But I do enjoy writing and having folks reading said writing, so welcome to my world. It's nice to meet you.

Playing in my head over and over again argh

I'll Have To Say I Love You In A Song (Jim Croce)

Book(s) of the moment

Hogfather (Terry Pratchett)

Books read in 2010 and 2011

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows (JK Rowling) - 'cos the movie's coming out!
Frankenstein: Lost Souls (Dean Koontz) - ah, bugger, it's part of a series! Now I hafta find all the books...
Dismantled (Jennifer McMahon) - oh, good one
Tigerlily's Orchids (Ruth Rendell)
Shutter Island (Dennis LeHane) - reminds me too much of work
Holy Fools (Joanne Harris) - it's official: I prefer her scary books
A Series of Unfortunate Events; The Unauthorized Autobiography; The Beatrice Letters (Lemony Snicket)
The Little Friend (Donna Tartt)
The main books - 11 so far - of the Southern Vampire series; the Aurora Teagarden series except for A Fool & His Honey - that makes it 7; Sweet & Deadly (Charlaine Harris)
The Woman in Black (Susan Hill)
Full Dark, No Stars (Stephen King)
Room: A Novel (Emma Donaghue)
Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children (Ransom Riggs)
The Bachman Books (Stephen King)
Men At Arms (Terry Pratchett)
Carpe Jugulum (Terry Pratchett)
The Fifth Elephant (Terry Pratchett)
Beauty (Robin McKinley)
The Sandman, Vol 1 (Neil Gaiman)
The Burden (Agatha Christie) - her crime novels are waaay better
Snuff (Terry Pratchett)

Visit my photoblog!

I started my first photoblog on 3 May, 2009. Each post features one picture, with a little story of how it came about. Do take a look by clicking on: Manx Pictures
July 2009
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Delicious Bookmarks


Don’t say I didn’t say this…

Disclaimers: 1) I cannot help but bitch about work sometimes, but everything here comes under the realm of personal remarks, and nothing here is said in my professional capacity. Nor does anything here reflect the opinion of the institutions that employ me. This is just me shooting off. 2) Most identities have been anonymized, particularly those of folks I know on a personal basis. Same goes for my workplaces. However, commercial and public places and figures remain named. Otherwise some things just wouldn't make sense. 3) Links and sources have been provided where appropriate and possible. They are not meant to challenge anyone's ownership. If this causes any discomfort or offence, please let me know.


  • 79,235 times since 10 March 2009. Thank you and I hope to see you again!

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