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Sometimes the patient knows best

Many of my patients are Turkish and their symptoms need interpreting according to a very particular culture. One memorable woman arrived complaining of chest pain.

I realised this was only one of a long list of symptoms, but it clearly needed addressing first.

After 20 minutes of failing to elicit distinctive symptoms, and feeling rather exasperated, I asked her: 'What do you think causes it?' She replied: 'My daughter's marital problems.'

'Why so?' I asked. And then she demonstrated how her worry caused her chest pains, by beating her chest violently.

Some patients make better diagnoses than their doctors.

From Dr Alex Bunn, Hackney, east London

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