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Is Sympathy Necessary for Trivial Health Problems?

Posted Sep 07 2008 8:20pm
A friend of mine, a student paramedic "Mindy" was called out recently to see a girl that had called an ambulance for a very trivial health problem. Now for the problem itself I probably would not have called an ambulance and wasted precious NHS resources (toe the party line!) but this fellow healthcare professional student was suggesting this girl needed no treatment at all.
She was shocked when I said if it was my body, I probably would pester my GP with it, or at the very least go and see the practise nurse. Mindy remarked how this girl had a friend with her who could have sorted the problem. Well, if our friends can sort out our health problems why bother with any sort of medical /nursing training at all?
What about genuine anxiety from this girl or other patients with seemingly trivial health problems? How often is it that the most painful things have no other symptoms? I ruminated over the many ridiculous things I have been to see various doctors about over the course of my life and each one has shown me sympathy and gently advised me every single time. How lucky I haven't run into any Mindys. "I've done worse than that" she tells me, forgetting that one is supposed to put the patient first. Its their experience that matters here.
Also I worry about the opinions.. the more I study medicine the more I realise I didn't understand much about it before! Quote from Mindy "Well it would be a shit doctor that gave antibiotics for that" ?! Then I hazily explain something about facial veins connection to brain and risks of encephalitis. Mindy isn't qualified to make that statement and for that matter, neither am I. It is one thing for the general public and the media saying outlandish things and criticising but what about healthcare professionals working together in clinician led interdisciplinary teams?
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