Thursday 17th August 1989   Morning Surgery 11:10

“How are you, Mr Lawley?”
“My back is awful, Dr Dennis.”
“I am very sorry to hear that.”
“Your’s would be too if you had spent 18 hours on a trolley in the Emergency Department.”
“I’m sure it would.”
“I told you that I didn’t want to go into hospital.” Mr Lawley glared at my Dad.
“Well, I was concerned about you. You had a rapid, irregular pulse.”
“Yes, they said that you were concerned about me in the hospital. I think that they thought you were a bit too concerned.”
“Your pulse was going at 145 beats per minute!”
“Yes, I remember you being very dramatic on the ‘phone. Anyone would have thought that it had been going at 145 miles per hour!”
“A fast pulse like that can be quite dangerous, especially in an elderly gentleman.”
“They did not seem too worried about it in the hospital. In fact, by the time the doctor saw me, it was back to normal.”
“It wasn’t due to a heart attack, then?”
“They didn’t say anything about that.”
“Did they give you any treatment for it?”
“No, they didn’t.”
“As far as I can see, Doctor, I didn’t need to be in hospital at all. I might as well have been at home, curled up in front of the television with a nice cup of tea. That’s what I have come to tell you really. Next time you see a patient with a rapid, irregular pulse, I would like you to bear that in mind.”
My Dad nodded his head.

“Oh, by the way! They would like you to arrange for me to see a cardiologist, urgently.”
“Didn’t you see a cardiologist in the hospital?”
“No, he was too busy.”

Atrial fibrillation.
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