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Filler A memorable patient

It pays to be a native

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: (Published 04 July 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:27
  1. Alasdair Purdie, specialist registrar in ophthalmology, Inverness.

    The language of medicine transcends national borders and allows doctors from different countries to communicate despite a limited knowledge of each other's native tongue. However, we all know of patients who, despite English being their first language, are difficult to understand owing to the dialect and strong accent prevalent in their everyday conversation.

    It is about two years since I sat the third and final part of my fellowship in ophthalmology and there is one case which I recall in particular but not for its rarity or unusual clinical features. The examination was held in Aberdeen and was stretched out over a period of almost a week. I thought that I had done reasonably well in the written papers and the oral examination and …

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