I'd like to ask for your help. Please.
When I ask if you have any medical history, can you please do me a favour and give me the information I've asked for? It makes my life a little easier, it may change and probably improve your treatment, and, slightly less importantly, makes me feel a little less stupid when you tell the hospital staff something that you never told me...
There are several ways to garner a history. I normally start with a very simple "do you have any medical problems?"
Often the answer is something along the lines of "Not really, I take medicines for those..."
Then begins the sometimes laborious task of locating said tablets, seeing if what's in the boxes is what it really should be, working out which treats what, and when they're due to be taken. Blood pressure, diabetes, cardiac failure and chronic breathing problems, are easily the most common conditions I meet on a regular basis.
Then there are the less common. Things like sickle cell crisis, Addison's disease, lupus, and a myriad of other ailments that I either haven't heard of, or don't know enough about, that then I have to go and read up on. Whatever it is, I need to know about it.
I admit that if you're in your sixties, and are complaining of chest pain, I don't really need to know about the leg you broke when you fell off your bike 50 years ago, or the fact you had appendicitis when you were in your twenties.
However, if you are in your sixties, and are complaining of chest pain, it might be important to tell me other bits of information.
Information such as the three previous heart attacks you've had in the last two years.
Information such as the fact that this pain feels identical to that experienced in those three previous heart attacks.
Information such as the fact that each time, nothing appeared wrong with the ECG, but your blood tests and later angiograms showed otherwise.
And most importantly, information such as the fact that on each of those occasions, your heart actually stopped whilst you were either on your way to hospital or once you were already there.
That's the sort of stuff we need to know. The important stuff. The sort of detail that may actually help us to help you. Please.
By the way, please say hi and thanks to your heart for not stopping this time. It was good news for both of us...