British Lung Foundation
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Hope for the future

I spent yesterday afternoon as a patient for the third year medical student exams at the QE Bham. We patients had a great time, sandwiches, lots of tea and the examiner who sat with me was a gorgeous gastro consultant. He loved his history and theatre, it was just a shame that we had to break off the conversation when the students came in! The poor students. The first one was so nervous that she was shaking so much she could hardly hold my wrist to take my pulse. I have bronchiectasis which is really difficult to diagnose and having done these exams before I know that I can even fool experienced doctors, trying to become consultants. It was interesting to me to discover that these students had been well trained to look for the signs of COPD. They started off well and then realised that there was something different with me, which really threw them. Then they simply couldn't put it together. Some really struggled, went into a panic and couldn't name what they thought I had, some mentioned bronchiectasis but seemed scared to be definite. I felt really sorry for them. Both the examiner and I had sinking hearts until the last candidate came in. She did a lovely confident examination and came straight out with it. She then went into a detailed account of treatment that I could have ( and mostly have had over the years). The examiner and I were ecstatic, she could tell and bounced out of the cubicle with a huge smile on her face. The examiner wrote REALLY GOOD! on her sheet and I went home delighted to have had a lovely afternoon, doing something positive for the generation of docs whom we will be relying on in the future.

8 Replies

You are really so good helping these students. And to find such a clever girl who knew exactly what you had. It is interesting that the students had had training on COPD. Glad you had a good day. Lots of love TAD xxx


Great to see that they are looking at real people not just notes on the wall.

Be Well


Hi stillstanding, I did this a few years ago at our local hospital in NZ, I had 4 newby docs come in with the 'head examiner'...they were all nervous but were very thorough and althoufh thry asked plenty of questions only 2 of the 4 correctly diagnosed my bronchectasis... the looks on their faces with the correct diagnosis and treatment plan was pretty impressive. It was a nice to feel helpful with my illness and be part of the new generation coming through... weehee... go us :)


Great to know that they are being trained to recognise the varieties of lung disease. Even if they can't pull it out during an exam. X :)


Making mistakes sometimes makes them to never forget in the future. So even if they didn't get it right this time I doubt that they would get it wrong again ! :)


Glad you had such an interesting afternoon Stillstanding. Great these future meds are being enlightened about bronchiectasis. Often when I have been in hospital I see a sharp suited older guy with a group of young prospetive medics looking my way and I think 'uh uh here we go' and sure enough eventually over they come. After asking permission off we go. I know exactly what you mean hun. It is so difficult not to show in your face if they are right or wrong, especially when you know it's wrong - you feel for them. Also the knowing look at the end between you and the doc.

Good on ya, good on the young woman who was switched on but it is more important that the others consider patients in the future may have bronch and they refer.

Thank you for sharing sweet.

love cx


Sounded like a great day was had by all, except for some of the poor not so confident students. Good idea to test them like that on real people though. Hope you are keeping as well as you can. xxxx


Thank you all for your lovely replies. Yes I think it is up to us to encourage these young people and it is up to their tutors to make sure that they learn about the many lung conditions which plague us. Hopefully some of them will go on to specialise or research in some of the sadly neglected ones.

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