Doctors; let’s get naked……

One of the unwritten rules of general practice runs thus; the longer it takes for a patient to disrobe, the less likely there is to be any significant clinical finding.

There is obviously a huge cost implication for the NHS here. Instead of sitting there twiddling our thumbs or daydreaming or idly Googling to see what Britney Spears is up to, while Mrs O’Toole laboriously removes corset number four with a hammer and chisel, we could be doing something useful.

But I have a solution; some might consider it rather extreme, but at a stroke it would rectify this drain on scarce resources; we should all get naked. And not only patients; to maintain a balance in the doctor-patient relationship, doctors would have to get naked as well.

It’s not really such a revolutionary step. By this stage, nearly everybody has appeared naked in a fundraising calendar, and being honest, we know fundraising is just a handy excuse, some people just like getting their kit off in public

OK, OK, I hear you say, some of it won’t be pretty, have we not suffered enough?

But think of all the time we’d save. No need to worry any more about what suit to wear, whether our trousers are pressed, which tie goes with which shirt – a major source of stress would be history.There would also be less tangible, more spiritual rewards. Clothes have lost their traditional purpose – to keep us warm and dry – instead, our culture has become so trivial that clothes have become a statement, a status symbol.
Getting naked would liberate us from these pretensions, get us closer to the truth of who we really are; here I am, we’d say, this is me, I am a child of the universe, peace, love and rock’n’roll, this is my glorious naked body, no longer fettered by fashion and convention, and of which I am not ashamed, look on my works, Ozymandias, King of Kings, and despair.

The rest of society would also benefit. Going through security at airports would be a breeze; no more being herded into long queues like sheep, no more having to take off shoes and coats and belts, we’d be straight in there to the duty free and the free samples of expensive aftershave. Terrorists would have nowhere to hide their paraphernalia; well, maybe there’s one place, so a lot more rectals would be needed, but they’re not that bad, and can even be quite pleasant.

If performed by an attractive person, that is.

Waiting; we don’t understand it

GP Magazine    4 April 2016

‘Nothing happens. Nobody comes, nobody goes. It’s awful’ – Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot.

Waiting is something we doctors don’t comprehend; we’re always busy, always rushing, always overstretched. It may even have a bright side; watchful waiting, or masterly inactivity, we call it, as we know things often get better on their own, or that a bit of time can make the picture clearer.

In contrast, waiting is a huge, exhausting, and onerous part of the patient experience.

They wait for an appointment to see us. They wait while I explain that antibiotics are not appropriate in this case, have many side-effects, and contribute to the global problem of antibiotic resistance, and then They wait as I grudgingly write out the prescription for an antibiotic.

If They have be referred Their problems are only starting, as They are then plunged headlong into the labyrinth of bureaucratic healthcare inefficiency.

They wait for the specialist appointment, for weeks, months, maybe years. They wait for the scan or scans, They wait for the report on the scan, which can be good or bad news. They wait for whatever procedure may be indicated, and probably have it postponed a few times just to add to the ordeal. And if admitted to hospital, every day They will wait for the ward-round and for visits from family and friends.

I tell my young colleagues, ‘Your patient will have been waiting for you, sometimes for hours and weeks, even months, so no matter how busy you are, give them your full attention.’

But sometimes it has a happy ending.

‘I’ve been waiting for twenty minutes,’ complained Joe.

‘Then I’ve got good news, Joe; no more waiting,’ I reassured him.,’There’s absolutely nothing wrong with you.’

At Christmas, GPs are ready for anything…….

GP Magazine  21st December 2008

I used to love Christmas, but I loved it too much and it could never live up to my expectations, so rather than continue to endure such annual disappointment I turned my back firmly on the festive season.

‘Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December; And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.’ Around the time Edgar Allen Poe wrote those lines I was still on a one-night-in-two rota and the holiday period was nothing but a prolonged torture, a succession of long winter nights, all the time acutely aware that normal people were out enjoying themselves.

Sometimes the local church choir would come around, mugging immigrants and singing carols and collecting money for Sister Eucharia’s hernia operation; ‘Get out of my face before I hurt you’, I’d say kindly, though in the end I’d relent and give them the traditional prescription for antibiotics, what with it being the time of giving and all.

Then, this year something strange happened. I answered a midnight knock on the door and saw a middle-aged man with a magnificent beard and a ‘why me’ expression on his face, a young woman sitting on a donkey, a squad of shepherds and three old guys with big parcels under their arms.

As a GP you have to be ready for anything; I’d read the book, I knew the score.

‘There’s a stable out the back, plenty of straw, no smoking please, a few appropriate barnyard animals, not too much manure, should suit you nicely,’ I said.

‘That’s not why we’re here, doctor,’ said the magnificently bearded man, ‘the Child is pulling at his ears …’

Are you the f**king doctor? Media coverage

Interview with Miriam O’Callagahan

https://rte.ie/r.html?rii=b9_21489179_15036_08-01-2019_

 

https://www.gponline.com/former-gponline-columnists-book-reveals-personal-cost-frontline-gp/article/1518928

https://brmaycock.wordpress.com/2019/01/01/are-you-the-fking-doctor-by-dr-liam-farrell/

https://cmajblogs.com/book-review-are-you-the-fking-doctor

https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/health-family/a-benefit-of-being-a-doctor-and-an-addict-is-that-new-and-clean-needles-are-easily-available-1.3739766

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/life/features/meet-the-northern-ireland-doctor-who-became-addicted-to-his-own-medicine-and-how-he-endured-the-horrors-of-going-cold-turkey-just-so-he-could-get-clean-again-37645954.html

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/the-doctor-the-drugs-and-his-own-case-of-addiction-37630337.html

http://www.judecollins.com/2018/12/a-doctor-tells-all/?fbclid=IwAR1sRkvVAaZratdEJzvemn9A5xb4uzngVWYe8aAGUqbLETWuXYXA7An0eQk