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What to tell the doctor Part 1 (Teacher: Michael)

Do you get tongue-tied at doctor's? Do you dry up when you enter consulting room? What do you say when you sit down by doctor's desk?

Doctors have similar problem: what to say to patients. To start consultation with "How are you?" is just no use. Whenever I've tried that opening gambit, "very well, thank you" has been instant response - followed by pause. Then embarrassed "Well no, I wouldn't be here if I was" "What is matter with you?"; is another non-starter from doctor's point of view. It brings forth reply: "That's what I wanted you to tell me!" or "You're doctor, not me. I don't know what is wrong."

Over years, I've opted for greeting such as, "Good morning, Mr Smith. What can I do for you?" Even this goes wrong sometimes, but at least it leads to fewer hiccups getting consultative ball going backwards and forwards, from patient to doctor.

Many times, just as I think I've successfully sorted out their problem, my patient produces another one, like magician bringing rabbits out of hat, but these are different animals each time! At rate medical matters can be solved, only couple of them can be discussed before consultation runs out of time; and I'm conscious that there are others waiting their turn, and getting worked up about their chat with doctor. Dilemma. What to do now?

If I curtail consultation abruptly, my patient will feel that they have had raw deal, and that doctor doesn't care, or isn't interested.

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