Source: Google images.
– So what kind of doctors are you?
– A house officer.
– What is a house officer?
– Basically the hybrid of a nurse and a porter!
Undeniably, we have a defective system, no I’m kidding, we have no system at all! If you’ve ever been to a hospital, you already know that a major part of a nurse’s job is giving injections, obtaining blood samples, blood transfusion, IV salines, inserting cannulae, and monitoring the patients vitals (blood pressure, temperature, etc.).
Since the very first day as a house officer, I’ve been doing all of the above, and because there’s no such thing as porters, I’m also the one sent with patients’ files and blood samples to finish the paperwork. I haven’t done a single task that required any of the medical knowledge I earned in the past 7 years. I no longer even know what nurses are for, I mean beside mastering the art of humiliating and delaying you!
- Example: A patient is so feverish and needs an immediate IV antipyretic. I am the one responsible, so I go to the nurse and beg for the medication. She refuses, and demands the patient’s file first, which should’ve been with her in the first place. I don’t have the file, so I call the resident, and she tells me I should find it with the nurse. And the vicious cycle goes on until I find the file on the nurse’s desk! Meanwhile, the patient remains feverish!
While you try your best to get the above mentioned tasks attained, residents (who mostly have narcissistic issues) can do whatever it takes to abort them. I have to admit that my residents so far are kind enough to teach me and thank me for my efforts, but I get sent daily to other departments to request consultations and interventions, and I almost always get shooed like a cockroach or treated like I didn’t exist. It’s so pathetic that some residents are so delusional they believe they are the Gods of their specialty!
- Example: A 3-month-old boy needs a urinary catheter. The pediatric resident doesn’t want to catheterize him, so she sends me to surgery hospital looking for a urinary tract resident. I request the procedure, but the resident ignores me as if I’m a mosquito buzzing around his head. When he finally responds, he tells me to wait. I wait for an hour, but he never shows up!
The only reason I put up with this crap, is because I once believed I could help make patients’ quality of life better, which right now sounds very naïve and ridiculous! Now one only gotta do this for the sake of God and nothing else!
So, after all, last year’s list wasn’t quite a failure. With studying and exams being eliminated this year, I hope I’ll have the time and space to meet all my goals this time.
Let me start with some items I couldn’t tick off last year:
1. Finish my novel(s).
3. Scrub-in, preferably in an eye surgery.
4. Reach my ideal weight.
5. Finish “Insanity” workouts without twisting any joints.
6. Learn to dance.
7. Earn drivers’ license.
20 100 books at least, including the Qur’an.
9. Speak French.
10. Play guitar.
11. Volunteer in a cause.
12. Fall in love.. or not.
And now with brand new goals:
Pick a specialty; I haven’t yet determined whether I should be an ophthalmologist or a psychiatrist.
14. Prepare for a fellowship in the picked specialty.
15. Save a life.
16. Run regularly for at least 3 months.
17. Run half a marathon.
18. Buy a heart rate monitor/fitness tracker.
19. Eat clean for at least a month without cheating.
20. Build abs.
Earn a belt in judo.
22. Go sky diving.
23. Attend a live concert.
24. Inspire more people.
What’s on your list this year??
Source: Google images.
First off, let’s just state the fact that crying kids are my least favorite creatures. Sick-screaming kids, on the other hand, are my personal imagination of an alien master plot to dominate earth.
So basically, my 12 hours at pediatric ER were witnessing vomiting, diarrhea, pneumonias, and the non-ceasing chorus of screeches mingled with the beeping of monitors. Such scenario would be somehow tolerable if it wasn’t in a governmental third-world hospital. Remember when I said it’s kind of like Grey’s Anatomy, except that it’s nothing like it?
Well, for starters, we deal with the lowest possible socioeconomic classes. Most of the patients are impecunious and ignorant (if not even illiterate), that never annoyed me; it’s not their fault and they deserve treatment. The disaster is that we, doctors, have to function with the least infection control measures (if not without any). The floor is dirty, and there are stray cats and cockroaches! I have seen a doctor collecting a blood sample without wearing gloves, the baby’s blood trickling all over her fingers, and when she was done and saw the shock on my face, she told me “don’t do what I just did!” There is a box of gloves sitting on the nurses desk, but few doctors care enough to use any. That sickens me!
Another emotionally devastating thing was how the bed sheets were blood-drenched, urine-stained, and needle-studded! I have been to governmental hospitals in UAE and seen how the sheets were disposable and consistently replaced. What I saw yesterday was just so wrong!
Back to kids, in such an overwhelmingly stressful situation, I tried not to get involved. How could I manage patients I have no sympathy for? The kids seemed like noisy things who needed to shut up! The only kid I sympathized with was 4-year-old who needed calcium gloconate injections to treat his hypocalcimic condition. He looked so harmless and terrified, he persistently begged to go home and I found myself trying so hard to sooth and lull him to stop him from moving his hand and displacing his cannula. I have no idea how that boy managed to break my heart!
And there I survived my first night shift ever! I’m not looking forward to my next one!
So today was my first day as an intern doctor. Let me tell you something about hospital internships in Egypt, you know, it’s kind of like Grey’s Anatomy, except that it’s nothing like Grey’s Anatomy! I’ll be thoroughly talking about this, but not today. Stay posted!
What happened today was a cycle of pleading and begging. Why? Because Egyptian “public servants” are heartless and always bad-tempered. Originally, I was listed in one of the ministry’s hospitals, but I filed a request to be moved to my med school’s educational hospital (not today’s story), let’s just focus on the fact that I DID hand the request to the woman in the corresponding office.
Consequently, I should’ve found my name automatically listed in the hospital’s schedules, which hasn’t happened! You don’t want to know the details, because it’s so boring, but to cut the story short, they lost my request, and I had to spin around and get shooed from one office to another to file a new one, begging the employees to just answer my Goddamned questions!
On the plus side, I finally have been listed in pediatrics with cool friends. But we have a night shift tomorrow! Yep, my first ER shift ever is tomorrow! Stay tuned!