dr david bull

A brief encounter…..

In Opinion Pieces on July 20, 2012 at 8:31 pm

No not that type! Honestly!……

Sometimes in life you are reminded how important our interaction with other people really is.

I met a  young lady in a brief encounter many years ago. As usual I’d been filming late on location in the UK and when we heard the director yell “It’s a wrap”, there was only one decision to be made…. Which bar should we frequent..?  The answer invariably was the one nearest to the shoddy hotel the broadcaster had put us up in..

Full of anticipation of that first gulp of ice-cold nectar freshly squeezed from the tap, I raced to the aforementioned bar.  Like many establishments in major cities there was a door policy – you know the usual – no riff-raff, trainers, jeans, guys on their own, undesirables and so on.

Anyway I passed the test……

The  young lady on the door was actually extremely pleasant but I couldn’t help but notice that she really didn’t look at all well.

Instead of going into the venue and quaffing my victual, I stopped and spent time with her. They say that 90% of the diagnosis is in the history. That means you should pretty much know what’s wrong with someone by talking to them without putting your grubby hands on them.

And after a short time with her I realised I didn’t like what I heard one bit.  I was extremely insistent that she should ignore the medical opinion that she had been given and she must seek another opinion immediately.

And that’s all I knew of that encounter …… until a few weeks ago when I received an email from her. It speaks for itself. Having read it I was so moved i had to have a sit down and a cup of tea.  So here it is….

I am watching (you on TV this week) and it reminded me I really should write to you to say a huge thanks.
I was working on the door of a Bar in Leicester a few years ago, when you came in for a drink. You noticed I wasn’t looking very well and spoke to me.
I explained that I was waiting for treatment of an ovarian cyst (I had been waiting for around two years for an operation) and because you took the time to speak to me, and strongly urged me to get a second opinion asap you saved my life.
 

The following day I went to the Emergency department of another hospital and they rushed me to surgery. They spent 7 hours trying to keep me alive on the table.   It turns out the cyst was a huge dermoid and contained a gland that was producing lots of cortisol and in effect slowly killing me.

 
The moment the cyst was out I started to get better.
 
I read my notes while I was in bed ( I know naughty) but I came across a letter from my first consultation at Leicester detailing how I was a drug addict-anorexic- alcoholic who had had several suicide attempts. 
I was so confused I have never had any of those issues, I don’t even drink!  Then I read the patient details and realised it wasnt about me and had been put in the my file by mistake. 
That letter had gone to my GP and in a nutshell that’s why they didn’t help me.
 
I reported the error and the letter was removed and they apologised.
To be honest it totally rocked my confidence in the NHS I changed my GP who had known me for ten years who should have spotted the mistake.
However its Medical professionals like you that give people hope. You wanted a quiet drink probably after a long day at work but yet you noticed something was wrong and not only took the time to speak to me, persuaded me to take action that saved my life I’m so grateful, words can’t express.
It was a wonderful thing you did for me and your diligence and conviction in your knowledge led to me being alive today.
 
8 years later I’m still at endocrinology being monitored.
Although I am very well and not on any medication, my endocrine system went really crazy but has finally settled down.

 
I really want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for recognizing the signs that something was very wrong because if you hadn’t
taken the time to speak to me I just wouldn’t be here xxx  


All the best for the future xx
.
.
It’s an encounter that changed her life. But it also changed mine.

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