Sunday, January 25, 2009

Getting into the groove...

I am more or less settling into my post as intern in the orthopaedics department. The hours are not harsh but I just have to wake up to perform ward rounds at 7:20 am with my medical officer, who happens to be visiting for six months from Argentina. This situation means I have to do some extra duties than is normally expected, such as translation between the medical officer and the patient and being a middle-man in helping the medical officer understand the hospital's way of working. At least this doctor is very nice and teaches me how to perform a proper neurological examination.

In fact all of the doctors are nice in orthopaedics. I'm currently attached to the spine team and the sports team. I asked to be attached to these teams for various reasons. One of the fields I'm considering entering is sports medicine, so being with the sports team lets me know what I need to know. Also I'm interested in join the department as a resident, which means making myself notice to the head of the department, who is head of the spine team. I hate playing politics but I know I have to play the game to get ahead in life.

In that respect, I already sent out my cover letters and CVs for job applications. I have decided to go for family medicine and, as mentioned, orthopaedics at my current hospital. I have already received my first rejection, from the orthopaedics department. The letter said they are only receiving applications from April onwards, so I'll try again later. I'm still waiting for the replies from the family medicine. If the orthopaedics letter got through, hopefully the other cover letters were received by the respective doctors.


Speaking of politics, it was great to see the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America. It was also great to show Barack Obama fluffing his lines. That shows he's human after all. It also shows how influential conspiracy theorists are, since Barack Obama had to be sworn in again in private later to quell the suspicions that he wasn't President.


The other big political story I want to mention, since I haven't blogged for quite some time, is Israel. I don't know enough about the Israel/Arab situation to claim to be an expert but I have learnt enough from history that peace cannot be achieved by the total annihilation of a race or a group of people. Israel cannot achieve peace for themselves or for the region if they try to kill every Palestinian on the face of the earth because there will always be retaliation and revenge. Both sides need to sit down and compromise (a very important word) if they want to achieve peace for both their people.

The outside world, especially the West, have got to stop feeling guilty about Israel and start clamping down on Israeli aggression. Israel are no longer the bullied, they are the bullies. People have to realize if you are criticizing Israel, you are not being anti-Semitic.

I don't care which side kicked it off this time around. The brave person is the one who admits he or she has to sit down and talk. That will take courage.


Seeing a patient die in front of your eyes is not the most pleasant experience one goes through. In the past when I was a surgical intern, I didn't know enough about the patients to have an emotional attachment so I wasn't so upset when I had to certify their death.

This time around, there is one particular patient under my care where it is heart-wrenching watching the person die. It is quite obvious this patient has cancer and since the way I'm talking about him/her, it is terminal. What makes it more upsetting is the circumstances. The person has quickly deteriorated in front of my eyes. The patient was admitted at the beginning of this month and in the past three weeks the patient has quickly deteriorated in front of me and there is nothing we can do for him.

Also the patient has such a loving family and friends. Every day the family visit the patient and there is quite a large extended family and friends who visit the patient. Literally at least 10-20 people visit the patient each day. It is bad that the patient cannot see the daughter get married or the son graduate from university. Unfortunately we cannot pick who can live or die - that is God's duty.

I don't know how I feel when the patient dies. Hopefully is later rather than sooner, for the family's sake that they can have more time with the patient.

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