Intended for healthcare professionals

Soundings Soundings

Old bones

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 15 May 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:1361
  1. Trisha Greenhalgh, General practitioner
  1. London

A 79 year old patient was referred to an orthopaedic surgeon with osteoarthritis of both hips. He confirmed the diagnosis, but regretted that at her age she was hardly top priority for elective surgery. “Thanks anyway, doctor,” she said, and asked the nurse to pass her crash helmet. The surgeon must have looked surprised, so she explained, “How else do you expect me to get to work, young man?”

Humbled, he put her on the waiting list for two new hips.

Some time ago, my partner …

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