The doctor will hate you now
Chris Deerin

Indeed yes. Two years ago my brother had lung cancer and was summoned to the Royal Infirmary to get the results of his x ray — me and our sister went along. The doctor began telling Colin the results which she made elear were not good — then paused to take a phone call about some admin matter. After talking on the phone, she resumed with the bad news that the cancer had come back.

Extraordinarily callous behaviour on the part of the medic and I am quite sure by no means unusual. And the diagnosis, as it happens, was wrong. Months later they discovered that the spots on the x ray were old lung damage caused in his smoking days. Colin did die eventually of infections but he had beaten the cancer.

Last year I had a detached retina — the optician saw me in morning had me in Gartnavel by 2. Operation went well, but I had to stay over night and just as I was drifting off to sleep a figure appeared by my bed lecturing me for having tissues on the floor and for my bags being on the seat (‘you’re taking over’).

This apparition was the ward sister. No doubt if I had taken this to the level of an official complaint I would have been told it was just ‘banter’. But it was unwelcome banter. And I’ll bet my Flashman first editions that the ‘banter’ does not happen in private wards.

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