Night, night, sleep tight

(For several years I was an expatriate medical officer on a big company diamond mine in Botswana. All names have been changed.) Ring ring … ring ring … RING RING!! The telephone ring cut through the night like a scalpel, tearing apart the layers of my hard-earned sleep. I had been in bed for four…

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Bizarre things we could do with medical technology but probably shouldn’t

I saw recently a statement by a scientist that the first human to live for a thousand years has already been born. He was that confident that the elixir of eternal life is within reach. It made me think that there are many things already here or around the corner that medical technology could do,…

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It’s a sheep-eat-plant world…except sometimes

It’s a dog-eat-dog world. Or, in this case, it is usually a sheep-eat-plant world. But in Chile, sometimes the plants eat the sheep. When I first read that, I thought I was being had, that I would excitedly tell people about this carnivorous plant with a taste for sheep and be told I was wrong….

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Pins and needles – a lesson on communication

A welcome break from medical politics – I wrote this a long time ago … it still applies just as much now as it did then. All a doctor’s knowledge, skill, patience and dedication are valueless without intuition. When all else lets us down, all the tests and special investigations, it is often the small…

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Name and shame?

I got taken to the doctor. He sat opposite me and said exactly nothing, not even hello or how are you. Pale and discomforted, he looked everywhere. And then I saw his cold hand, white shirt cuff, soft beige jersey, slowly pushing one small white tranquiliser halfway across the polished desk. I asked what it…

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Why do doctors hate medical aids?

We really, really do. You probably wonder about this. I’ve yet to meet any doctor in private medical practice who feels indifferent, let alone positive, about them. Sharing our reasons may offer an insight into why your doctor would prefer you to pay now please, and claim from your medical aid yourself. Technically, it is…

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The cult of the toned female body

When Gilles Deleuze claimed that what Foucault had theorised as the panoptical, carceral society of disciplined, docile bodies — economically productive and politically impotent — had come to an end more or less with the Second World War, to be incrementally replaced by “societies of control”, he would probably not have been able to anticipate…

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Teenage pregnancy a crime?

Ever heard of the “30cm rule”? This unwritten rule is popular in many co-ed high schools and it stipulates that a boy and a girl should not be closer than 30cm of each other. That means no hugging, kissing and gevoefeling while under the watchful eye of teachers. The students I teach have also been…

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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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I thought I was alone

Today, for the first time ever, I read a short piece about why some women have an orgasm during rape. It included: “Orgasm during rape isn’t an example of an expression of pleasure. It’s an example of a physical response whether the mind’s on board or not, like breathing, sweating, or an adrenaline rush.” You…

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