Intended for healthcare professionals

Views And Reviews

Great expectations

BMJ 1994; 309 doi: (Published 10 September 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;309:676
  1. M Loudon

    I do not know Karen. I'm the third partner to see her, and it is now obvious that she has glandular fever, although the Paul Bunnell test result is not yet available. Karen and her mother are worried and seem to have bleak expectations of Karen's illness. To counter this I suggest an exercise. Over the next three days I want her to tell everyone she meets that she has glandular fever and then write down any remarks they make about her illness and its prognosis.

    When Karen returns I give her the positive Paul Bunnell test result. She hands me a piece of paper. “You'll not get better for three months and it will keep coming back” - woman behind the counter at the chemist's. “It takes three years for it all …

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