Musings of a Dinosaur

A Family Doctor in solo private practice; I may be going the way of the dinosaur, but I'm not dead yet.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

A New Record

(Posted with explicit patient permission.)

Ah, forms! The bane of our existence. Far too much of our time is devoted to the filling out of various and sundry forms: camp forms, driver forms, handicapped parking placard forms; physical exam forms; adoption forms. The list is literally endless.

One of the greatest inventions in human history was that of the photocopy machine. This way patients can easily receive a copy of a given form for their records. Similarly, if some camp or school or government agency needs multiple copies of something, they are easily produced.

Once in a while you run into a situation where someone needs multiple originals of a given form. I first ran into this when my mother-in-law passed away and we were told we should order at least a dozen original death certificates. Apparently many agencies insisted on originals instead of photocopies for documenting that the dear lady was no longer among us. As it turned out, we went ahead and sent some folks copies instead of originals; no one ever blinked. We never did use up all the ones we ordered.

On rare occasions I have been asked to sign a form more than once, so that whoever it is who requires multiple originals will be mollified. Today, however, I set a new personal record:

I had a patient come in who needed to submit an application to join the Turkish military, where service is required. (So why does he have to "apply"? Don't ask; he's just as puzzled.) This nice man needed me to complete and sign the same original document (each of which had an original color passport-size picture attached) five times. You read that right; here it is numerically: 5.

Why? Beats the holy hell out of me! This is the Turkish government we were dealing with. I've seen Midnight Express. I know better than to mess with the Turkish government. I completed the paperwork and wrote in my chart:
Forms completed in quintuplicate.


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