Saturday, 5 February 2011

The mystery of the broken foot

Dear Madam

My manager has asked me to respond to your letter in which you complain that you came to hospital with a foot injury but that you ended up having thrombolytic therapy;and that the situation had not been properly or sufficiently explained to you.

Reading my notes of your consultation ,I see that you presented to our unit 3 weeks ago with a painful foot following a fall in Debenhams.
And that when you fell,you apparently twisted your foot.
Which was then painful to walk on;was bruised and swollen with bony tenderness to your fifth meta-tarsal;and was possibly broken.

I see from my notes however that your daughter had told me that you had not in fact tripped or fallen over something;but that you her words..."collapsed and fallen to the ground".

Further,that you were briefly unconscious.
Also,that you had complained of being short-of-breath just before you collapsed.
And that you had complained of a crushing central chest pain ,both before you fell;and when the shop assistants tried to get you up off of the floor.
And that it took 4 people to help you up.

I also see from my notes that when I saw you, that you were clammy;were obese;that you smoke 10 cigarettes a day;that you were complaining of central chest pain;that you were gasping for breath;and that when I plugged all of your symptoms into the Big Book Of Diagnosis App on my iPhone,that I came to the not-unreasonable conclusion that you were having what we call...a cardiac event.

A clinical impression that was borne out by the signs of a rather large and evolving heart attack on your ECG.

So I do apologise that I had to stick a big freaking needle in your arm;and make you chew an aspirin and spray GTN under your tongue...which you complain tasted funny...made you feel light-headed...and which I am still not sure is Halaal.

I think the ambulance crew and the team in coronary care both did a great job.

With reference to your further complaint that you did not really understand what was happening I can only apologise.
Due to the urgent nature of trying to save your life,I was unable to spend 10 minutes trying to get an interpreter through out usual channels.

(In my defence,I should add that I apparently use the Language Line more than any other practitioner in our Unit)

Also....your daughter spoke fluent English and assured me that she was interpreting for you.

So I am sorry that you have not had an opportunity to learn English since moving here from Bangladesh 20 years ago...when you were take part in an arranged marriage.
I am sorry that you have been unable to get a job in 20 years and thus learn English by default.
I am sorry that you are divorced and have to raise 2 children solely on the paltry weekly child benefits and Job-seekers allowance that are paid to you.

(Of course,quite how you are going to get a job when you do not speak English still confuses me a little)

I am particularly sorry every time I get my pay check to see that I am paying 40% tax.

I will try harder next time you attend our Unit.... avoid seeing you.
Or any of your ungrateful family.

Kind regards

F.O.A.D. De Beer

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