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Take two aspirins and (don’t) ring me in the morning!

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The medical “advice” to take two aspirins and ring again in the morning has been around for many years.  Unfortunately, we have found that it may not be the best medical advice when dealing with some of the more important acute medical conditions.  These include heart attack, pulmonary embolism, ruptured appendix, ectopic pregnancies, stroke and many others.

It is of interest to postulate just where and how the aspirin was supposed to work to tide things over till the morning, but it is easy to understand why the ‘two aspirins and ring me in the morning’ came about.  In the days gone by, when doctors worked as solo practitioners, it was not reasonable for the overworked GP to work all day and all night as well.  However, we did try, but having come from that era myself I can say with all honesty that the work all day and then be on-call at night routine did not provide the best medical practice for the patients, and did nothing positive for the stress levels of the doctor.

In fact, although physicians tend to have healthier lifestyles than those of the general public and thus are to live longer, it has been known for some time that suicide rates among some specialties are higher than those in the general population.  It is believed that the professional burden carried by solo practitioners leads to social isolation and an increased probability of undergoing phases of disturbances in their social networks.  (Reference The New England Journal of Medicine June 16, 2005, Number 24.)

Fortunately, my hospital is not working on the ‘two aspirin’ regimen and understands that many patient’s health problems can occur ‘after hours’.  24 hour specialist coverage is necessary for the ‘good’ practice of medicine, and that is what we can give you.  When you have ‘heart pains’ in the middle of the night, you need a cardiologist and not a moonlighting GP.  Rest assured that our Heart Center has true 24 hour cover.

When you need us just ring 1719 – day or night.

Incidentally, that 24 hour requirement for ‘good practices’ is necessary if we are to be able to live up to our accreditation by the US Joint Commission International.


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