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Fillers A memorable patient

A dog's life

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: (Published 04 August 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:270
  1. Margaret Sutherland, research coordinator, department of public health and general practice
  1. Christchurch School of Medicine, University of Otago, New Zealand

    In my role as respiratory educator in a family practice I made several follow up visits to a patient discharged from hospital with his first exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). These visits were to ensure that the patient, John, was recovering, had appropriate support, and understood his COPD self management plan.

    On the first visit my arrival was heralded by an ageing, puffing, wheezing, snappy, arthritic chihuahua, which refused to leave me alone despite a volley of colourful language from his owner. The cluttered living area of John's home, where most of his time was spent, had an old cardboard box that the dog slept in, another for the cat, and a large cage for the cockatiel. The outside temperature was 30°C and it was hotter inside. The television set was …

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