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Post 39 Embarrassing Medical Moments

Ellie Leyland was young and pretty. She was also an enthusiastic and conscientious doctor undertaking her first medical job in the days when newly qualified medics were required to be resident in the hospital.
The first cardiac arrest to which she was called occurred at three o’clock one morning and, knowing how important it was to reach the patient and to commence resuscitation as soon as humanly possible, it took her less than sixty seconds to rush from her bed in the residency to the scene of the patient’s collapse on the ward. Kneeling on the floor beside the lifeless male patient, she commenced resuscitation in textbook fashion, administering external cardiac massage with gusto.
Unfortunately, whilst engrossed in this lifesaving work, she overlooked the fact that, when rushing from her bed to the ward, she had simply thrown her white coat over her skimpy diaphanous silk nightie and dashed barefoot to the ward.She was completely unaware just how revealing the view was from the fro…

Post 38 An unwelcome revelation

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Annie Arnell had known that she was pregnant for at least three months before she plucked up courage to attend the Antenatal Clinic. She knew she should have gone sooner but had a morbid fear of hospitals. She'd had her appendix out as a child and now, even the smell of antiseptic was enough to induce a panic attack.As a result she'd suffered her troublesome early morning nausea and sickness in silence.   She hadn't even consulted her own doctor despite her husband’s entreaties.


Sue, the midwife welcomed her new patient to the Clinic, introduced herself and then, and after initial pleasantries, got down to the business of assessing Annie’s condition. She discovered that, by dates, Annie was already 20 weeks pregnant. Sue gently chided her for not coming sooner.
However there was nothing in the history or examination to suggest anything was amiss and in due course an ultrasound scan was performed.    This suggested that Annie’s baby was a girl but also that she was at least …

Post 37 Inexperience leads to embarrassment!

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The patient was a lad of about 19 years who was clearly drunk.He was quite unable to give an account of himself but his mates said that he had fallen down some steps on his way home from one of the nightclubs in the city centre.

Inexperienced as I was, it was obvious from the gross deformity of his ankle that his ankle was broken and from my medical training I knew that an x-ray would be required to determine the nature and extent of his injury.I also knew that the radiographer ‘on call’ would be tucked up in her bed somewhere in the nurse’s home. Nurses and female radiographers were locked up at night at a safe distance from the doctor’s residency!

Confident that I was following the correct procedure I rang her and apologised politely for disturbing her. I then explained about the lad with the ankle injury and invited her (with an appropriate ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ as becomes a lowly resident) to confirm my diagnosis. I remember one of the senior physicians advising that you shoul…

Post 36 Another embarrassing medical moment

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Almost all of my medical experience had been spent in a hospital environment; mainly as a medical student but also as a junior doctor.    I had noticed that consultants sometimes spoke of their general practitioner colleagues with a certain disdain.   They seemed to regard themselves as superior beings and were prone to comment adversely on GPs diagnostic skills and the quality of their referral letters.   As a result, I embarked on my locum GP post eager to set a high standard.    How the mighty are fallen for within a few days my eyes were opened to the entirely different world that is general practice and the range of skills and experience required of the general practitioner.

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I had been asked to see a lady on a home visit who was breathless.   She was a wiry 75 year old and the moment I walked through the door, I realised that I had a medical emergency on my hands.    She was collaps…

Post 35 Embarrassing medical moments

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My pager sounded its loud, shrill, urgent call, something that always caused my heart to flutter.It was an anxious technician from the pathology laboratory.

“Doctor, you’ve sent us a blood sample on a man called Walter Franklin. The request card says he had surgery yesterday.I thought you ought to know; his haemoglobin is only twenty percent of normal.I’ve checked with the blood bank and they’ve no blood cross matched for him.I think you ought to get a sample down to them straight away.”

I was stunned.I’d seen Mr Franklin not a couple of hours before and he had looked as right as rain. There was no suggestion that he was bleeding. He certainly hadn’t look pale or shocked.
I dashed back to the ward, grabbed a needle and syringe and ran to his bedside. But when I got there he was sitting up in bed, reading the newspaper, looking pink and healthy. His observation charts showed a rock steady pulse and blood pressure. He wanted to know why I was in such a rush!


My brain tried desperately to …