Friday, February 19, 2010

Are you Joe Public?

In a recent email a very good friend of mine asked me to describe my “average” patient in response to a typically flippant remark I’d made. Which got me to thinking—never a good idea as we shall now discover. Inhabiters of this Sceptered Isle will I hope be familiar with the work of the comic genius that is Dave Gorman, a man who, on a drunken whim, set out to find 54 like named souls and in so doing brightened my life considerably one evening a week for six weeks as he described his search with stats and graphs and all sorts. This all happened a few years back, and if you know nothing of Dave or his quest I urge you to seek him out here.

As an homage (or ommmaaaje as I believe it’s pronounced on the other side of the pond) I offer the following.

The first thing to say, is that the “average” patient comes in two distinct but similar incarnations. Let’s call them Routine and Urgent. In an ordinary week Routines outnumber Urgents by 7:1. On a busier week, like this, the ratio is 3:1, though every third Routine is in fact a Semi-Urgent, but for today they will be appearing as Routines (largely because I can’t face doing the additional maths to separate them out). Right, now that's clear on we go.

So, for this week Ms Routine has been assiduous in his attendance, though her gender identity has been perhaps a little uncertain, being as he is 55% female. She’s a pleasing mix of ethnicities being 8% East European 24% Asian and 16% Afro-Caribbean leaving him roughly 52% indigenous to Borsetshire or Expatriate Brummie.

She’s been around 32% depressed—this prolonged cold spell, the recession and pre-election tension all taking a part in this slightly high statistic. He’s also been 16% Itchy—again mainly thanks to the cold, and 24% giddy. For the rest she’s been pretty much equal parts infectious and sprained. Oh, and he’s been 8% pregnant and 40 years old. And called Paul.

Mr Urgent has been, if anything a bit more confused, being 63% female. She’s 25% East European, 6% each Afro-Caribbean and Asian and a surprising 6% Viking. He’s also only 89% here. Her religious observance is confused, being as she is 6% Moslem, 6% Rastafarian and 24% Catholic. As to diagnoses he’s been suicidally low, had a bit of a cough, a nasty stinging when she—er… you know, and he’s been 18% pregnant—and called Samantha. And she’s 37 years old.

So there you have it, Paul and Samantha, Ms and Ms average. I'm sure you all recognize them.


Imogene said...

Drunken whims are the best! But you were sober when you wrote this, weren't you, Dr J? Of *course* you were! ;-) Merci! Ix

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Love it! BG

Doctor Jest said...

Imogene-- Well this post *was* composed in a lunch hour, but the only "intoxicant" taken was caffeine, so yes pretty much.

Bendy Girl-- big Wooot! on the mention on the Grauniad site, I truly am not worthy, but so glad you liked ;-)

Anonymous said...

Are 24% patients really 'giddy'? Seems an unlikely complaint - what causes this - old age?

Z said...

You seem to have a very young average patient. I suppose the children balance out the old, leaving the young/middle-aged to hold sway.

Doctor Jest said...

Anon-- we've a bit of an epidemic of viral labyrinthitis at the moment, so yes teher are a few giddy folk about in Ambridge right now-- though one of the cases making up a very small sample was actually more anxious and agoraphobic than truly giddy.

Z-- exactly so. The "Emergency" surgery in particular is often populated with the flotsam and jetsam of playgroup and child minder, where a child need but cough once to need a full top to toe physical when mum comes to collect them at the end of the day (around 15.30-16.00).