View from the High Street: Take the time to listen

Judy Lea says even if patients descriptions of their symptoms are weird it’s best not to dismiss them

One thing I am very grateful for is that over the years I have developed a sixth sense, along with good listening skills, to judge whether what a patient tells me is relevant to their examination or is influenced by a vivid imagination or sense of drama.

Patients will often have convoluted accounts of what brought to them to the consulting room or of what they have been under hospital care for. I’m sure we have all had a patient tell us they are suffering from ‘Kerry Katona’ (keratoconus).

One told me how their eye was removed at A&E after an industrial accident. The eye is back in place with a full range of eye movements and yet they insist it was placed onto their cheek while the foreign body was removed.

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