A model patient

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 25 January 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:193
  1. Nicola Thomas, senior house officer, Sheffield Care Trust, Sheffield (

    Mary wasn't feeling very well according to the nurse on the other end of the telephone. The nurse said that Mary “came over a bit funny” at the dinner table and was found to have an irregular pulse with a rate of about 30 beats/minute—enough to make anyone come over a bit funny. I went to see Mary, examined her, and performed electrocardiography, which confirmed slow atrial fibrillation.

    I contacted the cardiology registrar, who listened patiently while I presented my case. At the end …

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