Medical origami

My first GP tutor at med school was an inspiration. He would often whisk us away from other tasks because he had a patient with an interesting clinical sign he wanted us to see – some poor man with hyperreflexia perhaps, who would then be subjected to a line of six bright-eyed medical students inexpertly bashing his knees. He once drove us for half an hour across town for the sole purpose of listening to a pleural rub. And he’d come out with gems like “If you don’t know what’s going on, send the patient to do a urine sample. It makes them feel better and gives you time to think.”

Anyway, one day he taught us some quick origami for keeping children entertained in clinic. I promptly forgot his instructions, and a couple of years on I’ve lost count of the times I’ve wished I could remember them. I mean, as someone who spends most of her time hanging out in the corner of clinic rooms*, there are a lot of occasions when it’d be nice to have something to cheer up the restless little sister of the boy who’s been brought in with chickenpox or something. Luckily I found the original in a drawer the other day, so here goes:

Take a square of paper (the page from the back of your notebook is fine). Fold it diagonally, then turn over and fold horizontally, as so:

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Bring the corners in and fold down to make a smaller square. (I suspect this bit has a fancy origami name.)

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Fold the top and back layers down so you have this:

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Now fold the top sides down to the centre – both layers – to get this:

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Extract the flap that’s in the middle, and fold it up and over the outside, like this:

IMG_2697Turn over. The next part is the fiddliest, but worth it. Fold out the top layer of each triangle from the middle, like this…

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… and add personality!

IMG_2701Et voila! He fits on the end of your finger.

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Our tutor claimed that he wasn’t doing too well in his paediatrics clinical exam years ago, but then made this, made the kid smile, and passed. I reckon that’s a skill worth having!

*I mean obviously I’m working really really hard at the same time, but sometimes you can get away with this stuff while the doctor’s back is turned.

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