Cookie policy notice

By continuing to use this site you agree to our cookies policy below:
Since 26 May 2011, the law now states that cookies on websites can ony be used with your specific consent. Cookies allow us to ensure that you enjoy the best browsing experience.

This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

Everest marathon needs doctors

We blood donors are special ­ it's a pity no-one told the Transfusion Service

I'm usually immune to begging letters, but this one is different. It's from the Blood Transfusion Service. 'We need your special help,' it begins.

I primp up my hair and read on.

'You're probably aware of the very special qualities of your particular blood group,' it continues, and of course I am. My blood group is exclusive to only three per cent of the population. I am O Rhesus Negative, the universal donor. In an emergency, my blood can be given to anyone. My blood is liquid gold. For some reason I feel virtuous about this, as if I have done something special.

'Please make every effort to attend your blood donation session at your earliest convenience,' pleads the letter ­ and I know I won't have to make an effort to remember it because I will get a personal phone call the evening before. 'Hello Mr Peeverlob, how are you today?' schmoozes the young lady on the telephone. 'We do hope you can join us tomorrow. It means a lot to us.'

'Will you be sending a limo?' I inquire, reclining upon my chaise longue. Well, no, they won't actually, because this is the NHS, so I haul myself up to the church hall under my own steam. I sashay in with a yawn and sprawl in the plastic chair. 'Hi,' I drawl, and languidly offer my finger for the lancet.

'Take a seat in the queue please,' barks the harridan behind the desk, and I realise that I'm not dealing with the honey-tongued lovely of yesterday evening. The illusion of VIP treatment disappears immediately.

An hour later, I commence an

undignified struggle to persuade them to take my blood.

'Have you been exposed to any infectious diseases in the past two weeks?' Well, yes, of course I have ­ I'm a GP. The nurses have a conference about it, looking at me doubtfully. 'Have you got a rash?' one asks. 'Damn your impudence!' I reply.

They ask me about drugs, and

I admit to the usual cocktail of alcohol, benzodiazepines and strong analgesics that make life as a GP just about bearable. Once again they go into a huddle, and eventually call in the attending doctor. She asks me if I've ever had sex with a prostitute

or an African, or weird sex with just about anyone, and I start to get depressed because of my boringly conventional love life.

Eventually they do me the favour of siphoning off a pint. 'Do you want local anaesthetic?' says the nurse, and of course

I do, and I can tell she despises my weakness. 'Now you have to have a drink and a biscuit,' she says once it is over. 'I don't want a drink and a biscuit,'

I tell her. 'It's in the regulations,' she tells me, her voice hardening, and I decide to make a break for it. I don't make it to the door. Two nurses hold me down while a third forces three custard creams between my clenched teeth.

Summoning what dignity

I can muster, and brushing biscuit crumbs out of my hair, I stroll nonchalantly towards the door. At the exit, I turn and consider giving the whole lot of them the (still bleeding) finger. But I quell

my impulse. Because next time, I think

I might get a badge.

peverley@supanet.com

Dr Phil Peverley is a GP in Sunderland

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