Fillers Observing patients

Deaf wife

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.318.7186.798 (Published 20 March 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:798
  1. Edwin Besterman, consultant cardiologist
  1. University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica.

    Years ago in my consulting room I was seeing an old patient for his regular six monthly review, and was pleased when my receptionist sent in his wife as I had never met any of his relatives. During the usual questioning I addressed odd remarks and questions to her which elicited no response. In his notes I then wrote “deaf wife.” After a physical examination, an electrocardiogram, and an x ray examination I bade him goodbye and noted that the wife remained seated. I inquired if she was not going to accompany her husband? She then spoke up to say, “I am not his wife, but your next patient. I was fascinated to see the whole procedure, but have one complaint. Next time could you provide a better male specimen, someone like Paul Newman?”

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