Tag Archives: medicine

Do you need to own a vagina to write the manual for it?

I am in my late twenties which means a number of things. The first, an increase in pregnancies. The second, an increase in sexual awareness among female friends and family. The third is doing squats before it’s too late and my hind quarters can no longer be saved. Bar the last one this list involves…

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#IlookLikeASurgeon: A hashtag campaign that leaves me cold

#ILookLikeASurgeon first appeared on my timeline a week or so ago. I was interested in it because I’m a surgeon in training. Background: it’s a campaign against gender stereotypes. Piggy-backing on a campaign called #ILookLikeAnEngineer, it aims to show that surgeons are no longer just good-looking white dudes (think: Chris Barnard in the sixties) flanked…

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What I should probably tell medical interns but almost never do

Media coverage of the long working hours of junior doctors has caused much discussion and argument among my peers. Articles such as this (where a journalist follows an intern on call) and this (where an intern claims her hours are illegal) have generated responses ranging from anger to sympathy. We know that internship is difficult,…

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Beyond the ‘House of God’ – how medicine hasn’t really changed at all

In 1978, as I neared the end of high school and readied myself for medical training, a book called House of God (HOG) was published by a doctor under the pseudonym Samuel Shem. By the time I read it as an intern eight years later it had become a cult classic among doctors. Everyone I…

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So, someone you know wants to become a doctor?

Every now and then someone young approaches me for advice on choosing medicine as a profession. They are all extremely bright, capable and enthusiastic semi-adults, with strong desires to change the world and to “make a difference”. With on average 6 000 applicants for 250 places at a medical training university, the odds are against all…

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The accident slope – an analogy for avoiding errors

Early in my training as a glider pilot my instructor showed me an excellent but simple analogy for ensuring my safe performance as a pilot. I have always remembered this lesson, which he called the “accident slope”, and have tried to apply it to my method of practising medicine, as well as the other “dangerous”…

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Life support

The doctor turns to me and says you need to think about what you are going to do if he needs to go on a respirator. I do not understand. I ask. He says if he turns for the worse and needs to go on a respirator what will you do? I say why are…

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It’s time for a new class of medical doctor

In my last post here I made the observation that I practice medicine in a fee-for-service private system that is dysfunctional. Consumers of healthcare are the obvious losers, being subject to the perversions of the current system that translate into significantly higher cost. I stated that one of the drivers of this system is that…

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