Saturday, May 09, 2009

Good Times, Bad Times

Reading a book about John Snow, the great 'Medical Detective', and GasPasser, I came across some good old fashioned vituperative medical journalism. It seems both more genteel and more cutting than what one sees today.

Which is mostly about how shit and overpaid we are.

It makes me cross when I read articles belabouring the point that some Docs get paid large sums, as if this were an offence to God. If we do a good job, why should we not be paid well; why should we, just because we work in the public sector be paid lower wages?

I lack the energy to debate that fully.

But how much is it worth for us to save your child's life?

Fuck that; if your kid breaks his arm, how much is it worth for us to take his pain away?

How much for us to look after your daughter when she's too drunk for you to cope with?

I get paid to work long hours, and deal with shit you don't want to.

For no good deed goes unpunished.

That having said, I generally find that a polite manner, regular explanation and other interventions of a tree hugging nature are enough to produce a smile ad word of thanks from most of my patients. Handing out Teddy Bears to scared kids, and watching their shy grins as the take the bears, without letting on that they want them, is good value.

Yet for every patient who is grateful for what you do, there is the yang to this yin. There are patients who are, frankly, penises.

Just tonight we spent a goodly time wrestling with just such a man. He dedicated his Friday night to imbibing his own bodyweight in booze. He then topped that off by passing out between a couple of parked cars, where a helpful passer-by happened upon him.

he was wheeled into the ED, full of drunken cheer, shouting to all who would listen, a drunken sailor, king of all he surveyed, and pleased and excited to be on this next part of his beer fuelled mission.

However, shortly afterwards he decided he wanted to go home.

Clad only in his pants, unable to remember his own last name, let alone where he lived, or where that was in relation to where he was now, also a mystery to him, he resolutely insisted he could, and would go home.

Big deal, you think. Let him go....

Fine, if he could stand.

He demonstrated his inability to perform this basic task by butting his head into every available surface, all the while shouting 'What the fuck?', like some low rent Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

Now, I don't care if you wanna drink yourself into a coma; that's fine.

Go ahead, knock yourself out.

But if you end up in the ED, at least have the decency to sleep it off, and not blame me for the fact that your legs don't work


anji said...

Teachers are given the same shit for salary remarks. Apparantely five years of university ($75K in student loans) shouldn't warrant a salary of $35-40K a year (canadian dollars). We're *so* overpaid.

In the three months I taught north, I had 28 students, 22 of them fetal alcohol. 10 of my kids were homeschooled. Each homeschooled kid involved about two hours a week of extra work. That's 40 hours PLUS 20 hours... and, my prep time? lessons don't come out of my ass, each day involves at least another 2 hours of prep, sometimes more. That's 70 hours a week... Oh yea, and extra curricular forced activities? another 5 hours a week... 75 hours so far.

Oh yea, and how about those sleepless nights as I tossed and turned unable to sleep 'cause during the second week of the job, some kid came at me with a machete and another pointing a hand-gun at me...

$35K a year? Stuff it. I quit finally... I'd rather go flip burgers than wipe 28 kids snotty noses and try to prepare their kids for the future. What future? Meh...

I'm too young to be so tainted and jaded.

Doctors earn every dollar I think... I know I earned every damn dollar of my lousy $1300 bi-weekly teaching cheque, so who am I to judge someone else?

Grumpy, M.D. said...

Agree with you, even on this side of the pond.

I'm a neurologist, working 80-90 hours per week. And in the current economy I'm breaking even on supporting my practice and family.

And the people who criticize us work 40 hours a week and have weekends off.

delcatto said...

Doctors = worth their weight in gold

Politicians = worth their weight in shit.