Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Hippocrates turning in his grave

As somebody who has been in medical school for nearly nine years, I have observed many doctors and numerous medical students. I wish I could say that I am heartened to be in this profession but it is sad to say that I have become more and more despondent over the years towards medical students and doctors.

For those who are not in the medical sector, I would like to highlight numerous traits which I find many medical students and doctors have but don't realize. For those who are in the health profession, maybe it requires another view to see that you are not all that perfect.

1. Doctors are not nice people

It is a startling revelation but the evidence is there. If doctors were nice people, the consultants would say they didn't need to be paid so much so it will help the financial burden of the health sector. Many doctors would be offering their services for free, for example going to Africa or remote parts of China to help those who are really in need. But what do doctors do instead? They buy Mercedes Benzes only because they are expensive and spend half their time jetting to conferences across the world.

I'm sure most medical students enter medical school eager and thinking they can change the world but sooner or later their animal instincts take over. All they want to do is graduate, get a good job, find a beautiful partner and spawn lots of mini-doctors. They will do anything and everything to achieve their goals, no matter what (which is realy quite scary). The degradation of morality starts in medical school, when peers start to hoard reading material which could benefit anybody or take out every single reference book necessary from the library. Startling to hear but I have seen it happen.

When the students enter the clinical years, their immorality affects patients more. They examine patients who have clearly do not want to be examined because a hundred other students had done so before. I know of one former peer, Eric Ng, who woke patients to practise his examination technique. I know it is proposterous to hear but medical students do that. They even insist a digital rectal examination is necessary to perform and never really explain the procedure to the patient (that it might be painful). Medical students even break the law by nicking gum labels of the patient's details and sticking it into the notebook, just because they are too lazy to write out the patient's name and age (which is all they need). They never really think they could lose their notebook, somebody could pick the notebook up and abuse those patient's details.

It gets even worse in the internship. As they are overworked, underpaid and overstressed, interns take out their frustrations on anybody - nurses, patients, etc. Interns just want to get their work done as quickly as possible so they can get back to sleep. This lack of bedside manner sometimes stays forever, as I have seen in two professors (funnily enough both surgeons). Yet this total lack of remorse maybe makes them better doctors, since they don't form an emotional attachment to their patients and do everything in a logical manner. Think Spock from Star Trek and you will understand my reasoning.

2. Doctors are not clever people and are not great conversationalists

I'm not saying doctors are entirely stupid people. They are very clever in terms of medical sciences but when it comes to other areas, we are dimwits. We cannot hold conversation in other fields such as other sciences, culture, arts, food or politics. I know a vast majority of my doctor friends cannot cook... and I'm not just talking about boiling instant noodles. One friend, Arthur, considers the hospital canteen food as the best he has ever eaten. I experience nausea everytime he says that.

It is the fact that we are so dedicated into studying medicine we don't have time for anything else. I had two recent examples of this. We had two lectures recently. One lecturer made a reference to Spain and said "it is not only the rain that falls mainly on the plain in Spain", which only I and another student (an elective from Australia) got. OK, maybe I was being a bit too harsh since it is an old movie which the current generation have never heard of but probably should since it is one of the great classics but another film reference came up, when the same lecturer remarked that normal humans should not be afraid of the X-men since the mutation should die out. Again only myself and the elective student laughed at this reference whilst it went completely over the heads of my fellow peers. It does get even worse in the second lecture, when the professor asked had anybody seen the Godfather and the same two people mentioned before were the only people to raise their hands.

So whatever you do, don't engage doctors in conversation outside their field.

3. Doctors don't have a great sense of humour.

Doctors do have a sense of humour, just one that nobody else understands except doctors since it makes bleak and obscure references to our medical knowledge. I'll use an example I always hear. Whenever somebody is absolutely hungry, you might use the phrase, "I'm so hungry I could eat a horse." Maybe not that funny but it may gain a snigger. Doctors and medical students usually will say, "I'm about to become hypoglycaemic... get me a glucose drip!" That will get most medical students laughing but will leave most people just totally bewildered.

Doctors (as well as other Hong Kong people) just don't understand sarcasm that well so don't bother using that either. In fact any form of sophisticated humour won't work. Doctors will laugh at trivial stuff, such as the toilet humour of the Farrelly brothers or the ridiculous humour seen on local Hong Kong TV. Doctors don't have a wit or a higher level sense of humour.

4. Doctors are not beautiful and have no sense of style or fashion

I'm sorry to disappoint the male population but I have not found a female doctor that is as beautiful as Jennifer Morrison from "House" or Katherine Heigl from "Grey's Anatomy" - not even remotely close. Female doctors do not put on make-up as they can't be bothered, despite the fact patient's will probably stop dying of fright in front of them if they did and will probably get patients, especially the male type, to cooperate with their work.

Also female medical students don't really have a clue what real formal wear is. They think anything they can wear to parties or going out is alright in the wards. I have found two peers who have worn jeans to wards clinics, thinking that if it was obscured by their white coat it will be alright. It just makes me think women have lower morality than men.

I just want to reiterate to the female medical students out there what is not formal wear and what is appropriate for ward and clinic duties. Silver or golden shoes are NOT appropriate - this is a hospital, not a f*cking nightclub. That recent new fad of having black leggings with a skirt/short is NOT appropriate. Wearing a t-shirt with a slogan across the front is NOT appropriate. Wearing boots are NOT appropriate - again this is a hospital, not a f*cking nightclub. Wearing casual clothing underneath a doctor's gown is NOT appropriate.

I have long accepted that ladies can wear anything they want as formal. If I was ever appointed a dean of a faculty of medicine, I would make sure ladies would have to wear dark shoes, dark trousers and a blouse. And before any without a penis complains I'm being sexist, I'm not since I would make sure guys will have to dark shoes, dark trousers and a shirt. In fact guys get it off worse since they have to wear a tie, ensure all circulation is cut off to our face.

Guys don't get it easy either from me. Wearing a tie/shirt combination as though you picked them out in the dark is a fashion no-no. I'll accept khaki pants and non-black leather shoes as formal but I'll draw the line at chequered/striped shirts.


When I consider whether or not I want to go into internship, the stress is one of the considerations I'm thinking about, whether or not it will affect my depression. Yet another is what kind of group of people I'm entering and whether or not I want to be part of it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Katherine and Jennifer..yummy.