Thursday 12th October 1989   Morning surgery 08.53

“Right, Mrs Crosby, let me sum up. You came to see Dr Lewis on Monday.”
“Yes, doctor.”
“At that stage, you had had a cough for 3 days and a bit of a cold.”
“Yes, doctor.”
“You insisted that you were given an antibiotic.”
“I wouldn’t say that, doctor.”
“Well, that is exactly what Dr Lewis has written in your notes.” My Dad picked up the record card and read: “Cough and cold 3 days. Chest clear. Patient insists on having an antibiotic.” He looked sternly at Mrs Crosby and raised his eyebrows.
Mrs Crosby did not say anything.
“As far as I can make out and, against her better judgement, Dr Lewis prescribed an antibiotic.”
Mrs Crosby nodded reluctantly.
“Today, you are here because you feel no better and you want a stronger antibiotic?”
“Yes, doctor, I told Dr Lewis that amoxycillin never . . . ”
“Mrs Crosby, It doesn’t surprise me in the least that, if you didn’t need an antibiotic in the first place, the antibiotic prescribed by Dr Lewis won’t have made you feel any better. It’s like taking a pain killer when you haven’t got a pain. It doesn’t really help. It shouldn’t surprise you, either, to be told that I am not going to give you a stronger antibiotic. In fact, not only am I not going to give you a stronger antibiotic, I am also going to take this antibiotic, the one that you placed on my desk with a barely disguised expression of annoyance, away from you. You don’t need it.”
Mrs Crosby looked very unhappy.
“My advice, Mrs Crosby, is to go away and wait patiently for your cough to get better.”

A stronger antibiotic.