Book review: Doctor’s Notes by Dr Rosemary Leonard

Doctor's Notes by Dr Rosemary Leonard
Doctor's Notes by Dr Rosemary Leonard

Why is a doctor like Sherlock Holmes?

Because they both solve mysteries… and no it’s not a joke, more a simple everyday reality for GPs faced with a series of tricky cases.

Dr Rosemary Leonard, a busy part-time GP partner, resident doctor on BBC Breakfast and medical writer for the Daily Express and other publications, has declared on many occasions that she’s in the wrong job.

‘I should definitely have been a detective,’ she recently informed her practice nurse, ‘we solve mysteries all the time round here.’

In her second book about life in her London surgery and with her customary wit, wisdom and charm, Dr Rosemary recalls some of her most baffling cases... and their rather surprising explanations.

Each day brings a mix of new and familiar faces, many with unexplained and embarrassing ailments, and some with mysteries that they hope the ever-resourceful ‘doc’ can solve.

From vexed questions of paternity to itchy rashes and apparently drug-resistant symptoms, these ‘mysteries’ can sometimes take a while to resolve but Dr Rosemary is always determined to track down the whys and wherefores.

One minute she is hot on the case of a young Chinese student whose ear lobes are constantly infected and the next she is working out why a Thai woman is TATT (that’s ‘tired all the time’ to you and me) for no obvious medical reasons.

And when she’s not playing detective, Dr Rosemary is dealing with the painful results of unhygienic piercings and botched cosmetic surgery, a newly married elderly patient pleading for performance-enhancing drugs and dispensing advice to a Spanish Casanova and his three pregnant girlfriends.

And work doesn’t always end when she leaves the surgery. Living in the heart of her practice area, the good doctor is used to being approached by patients or someone who has seen her on the television or in a magazine.

There is also the small matter of a friend’s son whose bike ride ends with a nasty collision with the kerb and who turns up on the doorstep with an equally nasty gash on his chin.

Despite warning his mum that she has just consumed a glass of rather special Chablis, Dr Rosemary is commandeered into expertly (as it turns out) stitching the boy’s wound in her bathroom and proving that ‘a friend in need is a friend indeed.’

From intimate problems to cries for help and from unplanned pregnancies to gay couples seeking ways to have a baby, Doctor’s Notes is a medical mix of the marvellous and the mysterious.

An appointment with Dr Rosemary can never be dull…

(Headline, paperback, £14.99)