Friday, October 07, 2005

A Doc's Life - Memorable Moments 10

This is my final installment in my mini-series of Memorable Moments. Note that these moments occurred over a span of over one & a half decades, and I hope that I haven't given the impression that a doctor's life is full of these "unusual" happenings :). In most cases, a doctor's life is usually routine, oftentimes mundane, and not as glamourous & "happening" as portrayed in most TV series & movies...

Scenario: GP clinic

I am sure that a lot of doctors out there have had the experience of meeting with rather ignorant patients not being terribly clear about their medical conditions & treatment. Eg, when asked about what kind of medication they are taking for diabetes/hypertension/arthritis/gout/heart problem, they reply "One round white tablet, half a blue oval one, & a small red one" like we are supposed to know what kind of medicine they are referring to just because we are doctors).

Patient was an elderly gentleman who was there for a medical examination for insurance purposes. He was accompanied by his wife & son. I took the usual medical history (nothing significant, according to the patient & his family).

When I exposed his abdomen, lo & behold, there was a mid-line abdominal laparotomy scar, at least 8 inches long! The following exchange ensued (note: patient's dialogue has been translated from a local dialect into English, so pardon the glaring grammatical mistakes):

Me: "I thought you said that you had no surgery done before? What was this scar for?"

Patient (grinning):" Oh, small thing only lah. 16 years already - not important!"

Me: "This is a very big scar. Didn't the doctor tell you what was wrong with you before you had the operation?"

Patient (gleefully): "No lah, doctor say cut so I go and cut lor!!!"

I was speechless.

1 comment:

Chen said...

Hhahaha... I totally agree with u, lotsa times, patient will tell me they are on this white round tablets or yellow tablets and expect us to know what the heck they are on, just because we are doctors... Aiyoh.. come on lah..

And another thing also, lotsa patients also unsure what operation was done on them previously, just like what u mentioned.. They only know something is done but dunno in details what is being done or what organ is involved or what is the surgery for :P