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2:49 pm
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Reading about lung cancer, i remembered a patient i spoke to in 3rd year. I think he was the 2nd patient i spoke to in the UK. He was a kind old man, patiently answering my clumsy questions and my awkward examination skills (and my cold hands). We spent a long time talking, with me struggling with my history taking and being in 3rd year where we were allowed to spend ages with a patient, he talked to me about his children and his time in Malaya. Then, i was less concerned about the diagnosis and probably taken more complete histories and more thorough examinations. That's how i found out he was a palliative patient and was planning to go on a cruise to spend his last few 'good' days.

Now it's all about getting the right diagnosis and i no longer remember to stop and get to know the patient :(

I should try changing that. They say they want caring doctors and yet our exams are designed to ensure we spend minimum time with the patients (history/examination stations are 6-8 minutes!) . It's designed so that we spend the least amount of time to get the most accurate diagnosis, so that we become fast and efficient workers, getting to see huge amounts of patients in a day. And people complain that doctors dont hear them, that we've become cold and uncaring. Well, our education does just that. Instead of asking us to actually just care, we now have classes where we are shown ways to feign care (eye contact eventhough we're not actually listening, repeating the patient's words eventhough all we caught was the key phrases (eg you may say a million things but the doctors only hear the buzz words like cough and pain. We dont care about your mother visiting you later that day or about your missing cat)

The patient i was talking about had mesothelioma and he is probably gone now.


I'll try to remember to stop the hustle and bustle going on in my head and just listen to the patient next time