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This piece reminded me that the core of what we do is effective
communication with our patients, and our colleagues.
In the UK, I often mentioned to my junior colleagues that they must
work in accordance with the GMC Guidance 'Good Medical Practice', which
states that 'Usually this will involve providing information to patients
in a way they can understand, before asking for their consent.'
In the challenging environment of the emergency department, dealing
with patients who are often under the influence of alcohol or drugs (as in
this case), we sometimes also have to resort to less than standard methods
of communication, similar to that described, to get our message across
This should not be seen as 'pushing the boundaries' - it is simply
providing good communication for our patients' benefit.
No competing interests
11 December 2009
Colin A Graham
Professor, Emergency Medicine
Chinese University of Hong Kong, Emergency Dept, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, Hong Kong