French lessons

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 09 December 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:1393
  1. Peter Turkie, locum general practitioner
  1. Perpignan, France

“Aren't you going to give me something for my nose?”

It was the end of a busy weekend on call; I was hungry and tired, and this was not what I wanted to hear. I had been called out to see a man with a cough, which I had diagnosed as asthma due to a cold. He had all sorts of treatments at home for asthma, which I encouraged him to take regularly. The attack was not severe, and he was quite well apart from the slight cough and a runny nose. I prepared to leave, not before collecting my €42.60 (£29.89; $56.56) cheque and giving him his form for reimbursement.

“And my cough?” he asked. I explained again, as patiently as I could given my weakened state, that treating the asthma would stop the cough and that symptomatic treatment was …

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