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No need for a novella

Copperfield is asked for second opinion on a textbook neurological case.

I've been writing for money for around twenty years now and I think I can type as quickly as any other untrained 'two-finger' merchant out there. The point is that I don't think the current crop of GP registrars and assistants are any quicker over the keyboard than I am.

Which really makes me wonder why, in a world where we're all pressed for time (or for a decent length coffee break) they tend to write short stories about their consultations rather than notes.

For instance, Graham, a perfectly competent doctor to be, saw a bloke with meralgia paraesthetica last week and Bloke, being the 'suspicious of young doctors' kind came along to see me to get a second opinion from a 'proper' GP.

So I checked Graham's record of the last consultation. There it was, thirty five lines of the history of the presenting complaint – the dull, fiery numbness down the thigh, the variation with posture, the intermittent nature, the sensitivity to light touch – everything you'd wish to find in an authoritative neurological textbook.

And everything that I have learned, over the years, to upsum with the two word label, 'meralgia paraesthetica'.

Which saves me a hell of a lot of typing.

The next chapter of Graham's neurological novella related the patient's underlying concerns ('Is it cancer or a brain tumour Doc?') and chapters three and four covered, in some detail, the treatment options available and the agreed management plan, as seen in all good handbooks of primary care.

The record entry, I swear, ran longer than this rant. My follow up note read, 'Meralgia paraesthetica. Classic history. Usual advice.'

And I had time for coffee.

Brevity is best when faced with a textbook case, explains Copperfield