Why paediatric patients are better than adult patients…
Now it seems like a bold statement to say that children make better patients than adults, but I can think of several reasons why…and in that way that I do…I shall enlighten those non- believers. (obviously there are exceptions to the rules).
1: Children tell the truth… sometimes it’s clinically relevant, other times less so…but normally truthful…This morning I was informed…”I’ve got my pants up my bum”. Adults never tell me these things.
2: Children describe things better, without inhibitions or trying to be “helpful”…
I had two patients last week with odd noises in their ears, the first was a little old lady, who was trying to be helpful by saying; “I can hear my ear wax”. Not actually very helpful…I tried to get her to describe what it sounded like, but she informed me she couldn’t really hear anything, but her hearing was fine, and her ear didn’t hurt.
On examination, she had a little fluid behind her ear drum… had she said what my second patient with odd noises had said it would have been easier… She was a 5 year old who said: “It sounds like a train in my ear”. Once we had established it wasn’t a tinnitus “toot toot” and more of a “chug, chug” it was fairly easy to realise that she had medial fluid too.
3: Children will say “my willy hurts” and drop their trousers, before you’ve even said “hello”, rather than mutter for 10 minutes about a “problem down below”, blush and try to reveal the offending body part, without letting you see anything that isn’t directly involved.
4: Children don’t have a hidden agenda…except the occasion Monday morning school belly aches/skivitis.
5: Children tend not to have underlying drug abuse, alcohol or tobacco habits to hide and exacerbate symptoms.
6: Children don’t actually want medication, so they don’t pester for it after you’ve told them they don’t need it, nor do they try to deceive you to try and obtain drugs…. I’ve never heard a four year old say: “Look old man, I just need some Calpol so that I can stop shaking”
7: If children don’t wash, it doesn’t smell half as bad as an unwashed adult!
8: Even really poorly feeling children can clamber onto an examination bed without making as much fuss as an adult.
9: Children naturally won’t eat if they’ve got diarrhoea and vomiting, whereas adults force themselves to and therefore make themselves worse, and children won’t carry on walking on a limb that hurts and then moan about it to you in 8 weeks.
10: They are genuinely smarter and less deceptive than your average adult!
As usual feel free to add your own in the comments box…