Outed! Dr Key tries to hide stethoscope, but white coat isdead giveaway! The Prime Minister’s supporters will have been reassured to discover that, should their leader be cast into the electoral wilderness, he has a second string to his bow. To be strictly accurate, a third string, since Wall Street would no doubt beckon him to return to the heady lifestyle of the foreign exchange trader. But there is a downside to that course of action. The world’s opinion of Wall Street is, to put it mildly, not high. From Prime Minister to member of a community in large part responsible for buggering the world economy, might be seen as a loss of status equivalent to abandoning Holy Orders to become a pimp. Fortunately, the PM will not have to make that choice. With characteristic modesty he has been hiding his light under a bushel, his stethoscope under a bed sheet. He is a member of a much more respectable profession than foreign exchange trader. He is a doctor, the Rt. Hon. Dr. John Key MD, FRCS, FRCPsych, MP, PM (NZ). Dr Key’s special field is the little-known ‘Retrospective Diagnosis’.
Still in its infancy, Retrospective Diagnosis has the distinct advantage over more traditional forms of diagnosis that it does not require the patient to make the burdensome journey to the doctor’s surgery or to hospital. No actual examination is required. The sick person, or a relative or friend, if the sick person is unable to speak, simply rings the surgery and asks to speak to the doctor. Since there are no patients waiting in the surgery to see him, the doctor will usually be free to take the call. Here is a transcript of a classic Retrospective Diagnosis. Patient: Doctor, I feel terrible, I have a temperature of 126, my blood pressure is 380 over 260 and I have boils all over… Doctor: Hello, hello, are you still there?Patient’s Wife: He appears to have expired, Doctor.Doctor: Expired? What do you mean, ‘expired’?Patient’s Wife: He’s dead, Doctor.Doctor: Dead? Nonsense. He can’t be dead. I saw him last week at the bridge club. He looked fine to me then.Patient’s Wife: Well, you’re the expert, Doctor.[Note: Please do not ring the Prime Minister if you feel sick. He cannot be expected to run the country and take calls from people he didn’t actually see last week.