Soundings

On staying calm

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.317.7158.606 (Published 29 August 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:606
  1. Colin Douglas, doctor and novelist
  1. Edinburgh

    “The worst is when you're trying to get a surgical history and they keep talking about something else.”


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    “Or they tell you something and the registrar comes along and gets a completely different story. That's really awful.”

    In a tutorial group we are discussing confusion in the elderly. It is something the students seem to have encountered often; they are relieved to talk about it. The first girl continues: “My surgical man was in with his prostate but all he could talk about was his wife.”

    “His wife?” “She'd just died.” “Oh.” “Not a surgical problem,” says the …

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