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Outpatients: a ringside view

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 16 May 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1541
  1. Robin Ward
  1. lives in Ealing

    For six months I have had a ringside seat in outpatient clinics at two London hospitals. The apparently occult nature of my disorder, a paroxysmal cough, weight loss, breathlessness, mild pyrexia, and diarrhoea persisting for 10 months has invoked the multiple application of the alliterative sisters; scans, scopes, smears, and samples, so far without any unambiguous diagnostic conclusion. But I have had a good view from the other end of the speculum.

    Am I a happy outpatient? By and large, yes. Without exception the medical staff, doctors, nurses, radiologists, and technicians have been caring, kind, and efficient. All my lay questions have been answered honestly and thoroughly. Nobody has called me “Pop” (I am 69) or used my first name, which is remarkable nowadays. Every procedure has been as discrete and dignified as possible and has been explained before and during the event. I cannot complain about any stinting of resources, although the …

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