A guide to medical etiquette: paediatrics
- By: David McAllister
Being a paediatrician must be a lot like being a vet. Small children share with animals a lot of common features - for example, an inability to speak and a disregard for social niceties.
History taking - you can't take a history from children who can't speak, much like puppies.
Physical examination - The books will tell you that examining children is opportunistic.
What they don't tell you is that while you are waiting for an opportunity, so is the child. When you lean close enough they will grab your tie, glasses, necklace, or sometimes nose with a triumphant smile. Even when you can examine properly, findings can be difficult to interpret. What I thought was a pan-systolic murmur turned out to be a 6 month old nibbling on my stethoscope.
Getting to the stage where you can examine patients is the most difficult part. Paediatric nurses are fiercely protective