Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Swearing at the Patient

Today I've been working in Bradford with a delightful group of people from a doctors' practice. Excellent, they were.

At the end of the day the Practice Manager told me a story and, of course, I believe every word of it.

A foreign lady came into the practice. She didn't speak much English so had brought her son to translate. "She only understands a few words of English, including some swear words," said the son cheerfully.

The lady had a cold but wanted to see a doctor immediately. The receptionist explained that this would not be possible: all the doctors were booked up that day. The lady wasn't happy with this.

The receptionist began to explain about how to buy simple cold remedies and passed the lady a leaflet about straightforward respiratory ailments.

To her surprise, the lady tore the leaflet into small pieces and stormed out.

The next day, the Practice Manager said that the lady's husband, who did speak English, had rung to make a complaint. The receptionist had sworn at his wife, he said.

The receptionist was amazed. "No, I didn't!" she said. "I was trying to help. I was a bit stressed, but I certainly didn't swear."

The Practice Manager considered this. "So what actually did you say?" she asked.

The receptionist thought for a bit. "Ahhhhhhhhh," she said suddenly. "I think I know what it was."

"What?" asked the Practice Manager.

"For coughs and colds - - - "

Try saying it aloud.


Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

Lucky that lady brought her son in to translate - even though he obviously wasn't entirely up to speed with English himself! I doubt I am being racist when I say that in my view it is a national scandal how much money the NHS has to shell out in order to provide a translation service for patients who many not even turn up for their appointments. Some people may still be accessing this translation service twenty years after arriving in the country! For coughs indeed!

1:24 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I work in a general practice, would you mind if I took this in to show the receptionists there? In the interests of education you understand (and a little chuckle too!)

12:35 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've always had problems making friends.
Arthur Cough

3:33 pm  
Blogger WendyCarole said...

that made me chuckle. Now I am wondering which of the many drs practices here in Bradford that happened at :)

5:48 pm  
Blogger Daphne2 said...

i laughed - it's a joke isn't it?

4:48 pm  

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