Monday, September 15, 2014

Malevolent Medical Monsters

Think it's common knowledge these days that ingenuous house officers practically outnumber the ailing patients in our hospitals. In fact, some of my senior colleagues have taken to shutting the windows tight lest the overflowing number of house officers threaten to tip out of them.

As they are wont to do - whether due to suicides or other reasons unknown.

After all medicine is a course infamous for having an improbably high attrition rate, quite a few possibly due to the startlingly high rate of suicides for physicians. Though I am pretty sure that the working environment has mellowed some due to my more tolerant peers - no longer do we have the dark days of demonic surgeons tearing up the scribbled notes of a lowly intern in front of everyone followed by a vicious profanity-spiced diatribe - but still we have some of the more gentle souls who are trampled along the way.

Patient : Hey, where's my regular doc?
Doctor : Oh, he's long gone.
Patient : He left this hospital?
Doctor : I would say he did. He stepped off the tenth floor of this hospital.
Patient : OMG.
Doctor : Eh, it happens. 

One of whom I met just the other day. It didn't take me long to suss out why Meek Martin was suddenly voluntarily taking up an entirely different course. After all no one does repeated postings during their housemanship in different hospitals unless there are extenuating circumstances.

Paul : So you quit? 
Martin : Yes. 
Paul : Horrible times during your housemanship? 
Martin : Yes. 
Paul : Had someone tear your notes and make you rewrite them? Berate and call you names in front of everyone? Force you to take more oncalls?  
Martin : No. They just weren't nice to me. 
Paul : That's all!?

Ooh were they mean ole doctors?

Unsurprisingly our locally graduated house officers, used to our far more taxing environs, tend to last longer with the rigorous taskmasters here. 'Cruel to be kind' seems to be their motto here - definitely not what those abroad would be used to. Acclimatized to the more genteel, benign lecturers abroad, the house officers who return here find themselves exposed to the sweltering jeremiads of the heated tropics - certainly enough to have even the strongest wilt.

Anything you see dished out by the fierce Miranda Bailey in Grey's Anatomy is almost negligible compared to some of our malevolent dragons here. Unfortunately weakness is something they tolerate only in their patients. Amongst their colleagues in the medical fraternity, it's almost an anathema.

What monsters they be, you'll say! Back then as a houseman seeing that horrible surgeon tear up the notes of my colleague, I thought pretty much the same.

But along the way I met up with one of those monsters we had and realized that he had done it truly out of kindness. Yes, I was almost apoplectic in shock myself. Though I don't agree with his abhorrent Machiavellian methods, I think his ideas are relatively sound.

The Monster : It's a stressful job. If I hadn't done so, they would have continued for the next few years and burned out eventually. Better they leave sooner than later. 

Which is exactly what Martin did.


Musang said...

so are you mean to your subs?

savante said...

Well usually no. Unless they are really, really, really awful.

u~~ulliel said...

are you kinder if they are good looking? :D

Anonymous said...

Anyhow to touch based? Email?

savante said...

Depends, ulliel :) Sometimes I can be meaner!

Hi anon! Shoot me an email add then. Will delete the comment after.