This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

'Doctor, please help me'

A GP finds it hard to help a needy patient in the latest from Through the K hole

A GP finds it hard to help a needy patient in the latest from Through the K hole



'Doctor, please help me.'

'Of course I will, what seems to be the trouble?' He forced his hand through the snaking loops of rope to adjust his hat.

The pair found themselves in an angular attic room and a single window let in a rhomboid of stale light. Motes of dust billowed and eddied around them, forming constellations in the warm still air. They were sitting next to each other, back to back on low wooden chairs and for some reason they had been tied together with rope.

The patient began to speak. His lips and tongue were as dry as salted beef and as he turned toward the light his pale naive face seemed to be full of hope.

At first, the doctor strained to look at him, but the muscles in his neck and back stiffened and he quickly became tired. So instead he gazed out into the neutral space and listened, he chose his words carefully and pieced together the symptoms. Finally, he was able to diagnose and he made a decision to refer him into the hospital for treatment.

'I'm saved,' said the patient and thanked him.

Satisfied, they both struggled up, each man trying to pick up his chair as best he could, it was made all the more difficult because of the way they had been roped together. There was much puffing and panting and the chair legs scraped against bare wooden floors as they tried to swing themselves round to face in the opposite direction.

Finally they made it and settled down. The GP wriggled his hand through the ropes, took off his hat and smoothed down his hair. He adopted a more pessimistic tone.

'I've read the letter from your doctor but I'm afraid to say that I'm no longer commissioning this service. There is nothing to be done. I will have to refer you back to your GP.'

In the claustrophobic silence they got up again and scraped and panted and rasped. Finally, with sweaty congested faces they realised that they'd turned full circle.

'Doctor, please help me.'

'Of course I will, what seems to be the trouble?' He forced his hand through the snaking loops of rope to adjust his hat.

The patient began to speak. His lips and tongue were as dry as salted beef and as he turned toward the light his pale naive face seemed to be full of hope.

Written in response to Jobbing Doctor's blog We are sleepwalking into a commissioning catastrophe Dr Kevin Hinkley is a GP in Aberdeen.

Click here for more from Through the K hole Through the K hole - credit HaPe Gera, Flickr

Rate this article 

Click to rate

  • 1 star out of 5
  • 2 stars out of 5
  • 3 stars out of 5
  • 4 stars out of 5
  • 5 stars out of 5

0 out of 5 stars

Have your say