Examining the Evidence

Brian, a 49-year-old landscaper, lives with chronic post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

He was recently diagnosed after presenting in distress, revealing a history of a very traumatic past.


Dr Michael Tam5th March 2019

I recently saw Abby, a seven-year-old girl with a cold who had been brought in by her mother.

Mum mentioned that she used echinacea products, and asked whether Abby would also benefit from them.

Jenny, a 20-year-old university student, saw me recently to inquire about starting the pill. She mentioned that her friend was on Yaz, but got worried when she looked it up on the internet.

She asked

John, a well 52-year-old business executive, recently remarked that “a lot of my mates are on medication for cholesterol”, and asked whether he should take a statin too.

At first glance, the answer

Dylan, a 20-year-old university student, presented with sneezing, a runny nose and sore throat. It’s winter again and patients with the common cold have been filling the waiting room.


Jack, a health conscious 48-year-old man, came in a while ago with cellulitis following a small injury.

As I printed his antibiotic prescription, he mentioned that he had previously suffered from

Nanako, a fit and well 56-year-old patient recently asked for my advice. She had been taking OTC calcium supplements since the onset of menopause.

She was concerned about the risk of “heart attacks”.

Doris is a 58-year-old lady with osteoarthritis. She experiences this condition mostly as chronic knee pain.

One day she asks me: “I’ve heard a lot about glucosamine. What do you think?”


As a GP with an interest in mental health, I frequently see patients with major depression.

I have always recommended structured exercise as part of management.

So when I read news reports in June

Ivy, a medical student sitting in on my clinical sessions, observed me perform a punch biopsy.

Afterwards, she politely remarked that she had heard that warming the local anaesthetic would reduce

Emily, a three-year-old girl, was brought in by her mother with an inflamed sticky eye – infective conjunctivitis.

As I printed out a prescription for chloramphenicol 0.5% eye drops, I became aware