In Honour of Family Medicine

Today I leave for a two week family medicine rotation in a small rural town in the Western Cape.

This year, family medicine will supposedly be a lot more fun than in third year. Calls will be a mish-mash of every rotation. Lady in labour? We catch it (yay!). Stitches, we do it (uh-oh…).

Here’s something I have learned about family medicine:

If a young lady of reproductive age enters the consulting room with her mother and claims to have a headache, you politely ask the mother to leave the room. You can then expect the girl to admit that she actually has a discharge.

It sounds terribly stereotypical, doesn’t it? But in primary care this is such a common finding. Several times last year I would do a full headache workup, find nothing, counsel the patient, prescribe analgesics and tell her to return should it not improve. And, just before she gets up she would say, “uhm, doc, there’s this discharge…”


7 thoughts on “In Honour of Family Medicine

  1. general medicine is all about asking the right questions. when i was epidemiology my prof told us “you have to ask questions like columbo.” I started watching columbo and i will be damned if it isnt the best way to get the right answer!

    animals cant talk so one has to question the owner in a way that tell you the whole story. i think it would be much the same in human medicine because even though they can talk, they often tell the wrong story! 🙂

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