Friday 21st October 1993 Morning surgery 10:00

My Dad looked over at us, a resigned expression on his face. “After you’ve qualified,” he said, “you will have to deal with quite a few patients like Mrs Rosser. Heartsinks we call them in the trade.”
“She seemed to be in terrible pain,” Dilys said.
My Dad nodded. “There are three important points to remember about heartsink patients. First of all, whatever their symptoms are, they are always far worse than anybody else’s and, as you have heard, are likely to be described dramatically and sometimes catastrophically. Secondly, all investigations will be surprisingly normal. This will sometimes make the patient even more worried. Lastly, any treatment you give them will either not work or cause dreadful side effects.”
“How on earth do you deal with these patients, Dr Dennis?” Dylan asked.
My Dad chuckled. “Put on a brave face, reassure them as much as you can, don’t do any tests and don’t prescribe anything. Easier said than done I am afraid.”

Heartsinks.