Doctors' Diagnosis Doctors' diagnosis


BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 12 June 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:1325
  1. Paul Smith (, reporter1
  1. 1 Health Service Journal, London NW1 7EJ

    Derbyshire general practitioner Stuart Bootle has had diabetes for 20 years. He speaks to Paul Smith, who has type 1 diabetes himself, about the trials and tribulations of being on the receiving end of NHS care

    Stuart Bootle's diabetes was effectively diagnosed by a veterinary nurse. Although he was a medical student at the time, this was 1983, in the days before clinical governance became a pressing issue for the NHS. He laughs as he tells the story, because the veterinary nurse in question was his girlfriend, Nancy, who used a urine strip intended for her animal patients. He was suitably grateful, and she eventually became his wife.

    “I'd been feeling terrible and was drinking loads. I was living with four other medical students at the time, and I suppose I felt that it was just part of the student lifestyle. None of us had been taught much about diabetes, so when Nancy did the test and I had glycosuria, I think that was the first indication that it might be diabetes.”

    As luck would have it, he was then sent, as part of his training, to Manchester Royal Infirmary to work in the endocrinology department: “There was a discussion about diabetes, and at the end I put up …

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