Intended for healthcare professionals

Fillers A memorable patient

The white coated man's burden

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 23 September 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:723
  1. John Moore-Gillon, consultant physician (
  1. Bart's and the London Trust, London

    Mrs Jones was a truly delightful woman in her late 60s who struggled with the problems posed by diabetes, hypertension, angina, asthma, peptic ulceration, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, and a modest degree of renal impairment. Unsurprisingly, she was usually markedly symptomatic from one or more of these conditions. As a newly appointed medical registrar, I encountered her in my first outpatient clinic. I saw somebody who was clearly disabled trying to make the best of it but obviously becoming pretty low spirited in consequence of the constant struggle. My role, I knew, was to relieve her plight and restore her to a pleasurable and fulfilling life, so I set about tackling her multiplicity of problems.

    Over the weeks, I improved her joint pain and her angina, but the drugs aggravated her …

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