Friday, January 27, 2006

Going to the Dogs

Many a patient has lamented that the NHS is ‘not what it used to be’. Hopefully, far fewer try to hasten its financial demise in quite the same way as one of my recent patients.

An elderly chap attended complaining that he was frequently feeling faint and dizzy. A check of his BP gave a reading of 110/75. Sensing that his hypertension (high blood-pressure) was being somewhat over-controlled, I suggested that he stop taking the ramipril tablets (which lower the blood-pressure).

“But doctor, I have never taken those”, he answered in reply.

“Well, you have had a prescription issued every month for the past four years”, I responded.

“Oh yes”, he said. “The vet said my dog has heart failure, so I feed them to him. Done him the power of good and cheaper than paying the vet’s bills.”

As I reached for the ‘delete’ button and looked down the rest of his drug list I couldn’t help pondering whether his dog suffered from asthma, arthritis and constipation as well!

(First published in GP Magazine in February 2005)

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