Saturday, May 19, 2007

He's got a point...

With finals this close, every minute outside of classes is being taken over by studying, and I'm surrounded by stressed-out med students.

While I was studying last week, I thought of something that might interest my study partner.

"I had a patient with severe aortic stenosis that I saw in clinic last week - this week at family practise the doc I work with told me she decompensated over the weekend," I mentioned.

"He said she was in the ICU and wasn't doing that great. I really would've liked to go visit her."

My friend looked up from his notes, somewhat frustrated that I had interrupted his studying.

"Why bother? You won't get marks for it, it won't be on the final exam, and you can't bill for it."

He's got a point.

The black humour of
The House of God is turning into my life.


Anonymous said...

Vitum - Don't let yourself get too deeply or sincerely into those kinds of thoughts. You're too young, as far as medicine goes. And if we call ourselves Christians, we ought to work hard to maintain a spirit of charity in spite of the cynicism (and provocations to cynicism) around us.

Best wishes for your exams!

Anonymous said...

"Those" kinds of thoughts!? What exactly are "those" kinds of thoughts? Being realistic? Recognizing that the only way to be able to help people in the future is to prioritize against them now? Does Dr. House have a "spirit of charity"? NO. He has a lame leg and a crapass full of bad attitude and emotional baggage that drives him to save more patients than anyone since Hippocrates. And these are REAL sick people who would die if not for his cynicism. Didn't you see the last episode? He was drugged up and made happy and charitable AND THE PATIENT ALMOST DIED until the last moment when House was angry and cynical again and THEN HE SAVED THEM. If he was still such a charitable druggie then he wouldn't have been able to do that.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure we save anybody, really. Not even Dr. House really succeeds.

Like they say, no one gets out of this universe alive.

What we do is make sure the right thing happens to the patient for the right reasons.

Sometimes that means showing up when no one asks you to. Sometimes that means stepping back and doing nothing when everyone expects you to be there and to do something. There's never only one right answer.

When it comes to medicine, your feelings, your aspirations, your goals as a practioner don't matter. 20 years from now no one will give a rat's ass that you aced the board exam, or got straight A's in your clerkships. Hell, most people might only be mildly impressed when they find out that you discovered the cure to cancer and won a Nobel prize. But people will always remember what you did and what you didn't do for them and for their loved ones, and it's the people who have the least right to criticize you who will do it most vociferously.

Of course, living this way is guaranteed to ruin your life. I suppose it's no good doing the right thing if you end up failing out of med school.