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LucyGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 20-Feb-14 10:39:56

Doctor's Notes

Dr Rosemary Leonard, GP and BBC Breakfast's resident doctor, recalls the weird and...well, mainly just weird encounters of a medical professional over the years. From Buzz Lightyear to Creme Eggs - there's a place for both, and that's not where they ended up in these instances.

Dr Rosemary Leonard

Doctor's Notes

Posted on: Thu 20-Feb-14 10:39:56


Lead photo

To infinity...and beyond!

We had a big family supper last night, and as both my younger son and my niece are clinical medical students, the conversation, as usual, turned to matters of health and wellbeing. Only this time, rather than discussing the merits or otherwise of new treatments, we ended up in the realm of the extraordinary, and how real life often is stranger than fact.

It was my niece who started it. She recalled how she had recently seen a bizarre case involving the toy Buzz Lightyear. Apparently a man had placed - for reasons best known to himself - one of these inside his back passage. The battery was still operating, so the toy's arms flailed outwards, which meant it was impossible to remove. During the major operation that followed (which involved cutting open his abdomen and his bowel) quite understandably the medical staff found it difficult to keep a straight face as a voice kept being heard, not from the patient's mouth, but from the other end of his body.

It reminded me of a similar case involving a creme egg, which had been placed by an amorous boyfriend in his girlfriend’s vagina. They rang me in the surgery in some distress when the chocolate, rather inevitably inside a body with a temperature of 37 degrees, began to melt, and they were unable to retrieve it. I think they expected me to undertake a rather unusual Easter egg hunt, and they weren’t too impressed when I suggested the solution was merely to take a long, hot bath.

The medical staff found it difficult to keep a straight face as a voice kept being heard, not from the patient's mouth, but from the other end of his body.

There have also been many times when I have felt I have been working more like a detective than a doctor.

Every GP sees patients with sexually transmitted diseases on a fairly regular basis, but having three young women come into my surgery within a matter of weeks, all pregnant, and all with gonorrhoea, was highly unusual, especially as the father of the child in each case had recently proposed. As is usual, the source of the infection had to be traced, and when eventually a single culprit was found, it was extremely tempting to ask him if he knew that polygamy was against the law.

Then there are the patients who never let on that they are taking other medicines from abroad. Though it's understandable to foreigners to think that medicines from their home are trustworthy, medical practices in far flung lands, especially the Far East, can be very different to those in the UK. I have had more than one case where abnormal blood test results have been found to be due to a foreign "remedy" and also had instances where the puzzling failure of my prescribed medicine to have any effect was due to the patient simultaneously using a foreign medicine with an opposite action.

If any of these story lines appeared in a soap opera, I suspect there would be cries of disbelief, but after 25 years as a GP, I now expect the unexpected. It is one of the many joys of my job.

Rosemary's book, Doctor's Notes.

By Dr Rosemary Leonard

Twitter: @DrRosemaryL

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 20-Feb-14 10:51:59

I came across (^accidentally^!) an article online entitled, "Why is having a pooh so enjoyable?" Apparently it's all to do with the vagus nerve. That would explain the Buzz Lightyear thing. I think. smile

I like the pictures that are coming with the blogs. smile

rosesarered Thu 20-Feb-14 13:49:56

Nothing explains the Buzz lightyear thing, he was a manaic!Jingl did you mean poo or Pooh [bear] because Pooh would be as bad as Buzz [only without the batteries at least.]

rosesarered Thu 20-Feb-14 13:50:31

typo! Maniac

Ana Thu 20-Feb-14 13:54:12

confused. roses, none of your post made sense to me! grin

rosesarered Thu 20-Feb-14 13:57:42


rosesarered Thu 20-Feb-14 13:58:21

that's why we need a delete button!

cathybee Thu 20-Feb-14 13:59:53

Tooooooo much information shock

cathybee Thu 20-Feb-14 14:03:37 it right for this Doctor to be as descriptive. I guess you do not have to read it if you do not wish to, still a bit over the top I feel, and def un professional.

Riverwalk Thu 20-Feb-14 14:23:59

I can't believer a doctor has been so juvenile as to re-tell these events - she sounds more like a larky medical student bragging to friends.

As a nurse I've witnessed such patients but wouldn't dream of being so indiscreet.

I'm very surprised.

PetitFilou Fri 21-Feb-14 17:53:40

I am pretty appalled at Dr Rosemary’s failure to uphold the professional ethical standards sworn under the Hippocratic Oath. Her complete failure at respecting patient confidentiality is utterly reprehensible. Shame on you...!!

Galen Fri 21-Feb-14 17:56:56

We don't take the Hippocratic oath these days. In it you swear not to molest any female slave in the household and not to cut for the stone!
Slightly out of date I think.

annodomini Fri 21-Feb-14 18:06:20

She isn't naming names and is probably making small changes in the anecdotes to prevent identification. I doubt if any of the patients involved have told even their nearest and dearest about these exploits. Dr Phil Hammond is far more outrageous and as far as I know has not been struck off.

Galen Fri 21-Feb-14 18:15:04

So long as patients aren't identifiable it's ok. Most of mine are probably dead now. From natural causes not me! It's 36years since I was in general practice.

Riverwalk Fri 21-Feb-14 18:16:31

The Buzz lightyear patient would surely recognise himself if this blog were to be picked-up and featured by a newspaper.

How would he then feel that his major colorectal surgery provided much mirth at the doctor's big family supper.

Elegran Fri 21-Feb-14 18:27:26

It must have occurred to him already that there was an element of black humour about the situation.

harrigran Fri 21-Feb-14 19:09:32

Reminds me of a similar situation at work. Patient with rolled up evening newspaper .... "can I have it back nurse, I haven't finished reading it" grin

shysal Fri 21-Feb-14 20:03:12

An amusing memory for me was of an office stapler, which had had to be surgically removed, that arrived in the lab as a pathology specimen.

Purpledaffodil Fri 21-Feb-14 20:13:01

Many years ago I worked in a hospital where a patient arrived with a vibrator lodged inside his rear. The funny thing was that he'd come to the hospital on the bus. Other passengers must have thought they had tinnitus!

Galen Fri 21-Feb-14 20:32:55

One of mine had an 'accident' with a vacuum cleaner handle?

annodomini Fri 21-Feb-14 20:42:44

I will never again be able to look at GS3's collection of Buzz Lightyears without choking! grin

jinglbellsfrocks Fri 21-Feb-14 20:43:03

What, all of it? shock

jinglbellsfrocks Fri 21-Feb-14 20:44:16

Has he got any tonsils left?

Agus Fri 21-Feb-14 20:53:29

As a nurse, it would be so easy to write a book about hilarious anictodotes I witnessed over the years. Not something I would be comfortable doing though so would never consider it.

Ana Fri 21-Feb-14 21:09:03

Having worked for many years in the legal profession, there are many tales I could tell - especially the details supplied by those who wanted a divorce before the 'no fault' law came in.

Mrs X 'whirling like a dervish, naked, at the foot of the stairs' springs to mind! hmm (the poor woman was trying to tempt her errant husband back from his mistress - this was over 30 years ago though!)