I removed my nose jewellery recently, and in many ways that decision was as difficult as getting it in the first place.
Junior doctors (all doctors?) are to wear colour-coded wristbands to indicate the amount hours they have worked during their shift. This is something I support because it raises awareness not only among our supervisors, but also our patients – who, as I’ve shared before, are appalled when they realise the extent of our hours.
This single thought has me wishing I could go back, and do those four months again.
I enjoyed paediatrics in medical school, but never as much as this. How wonderful it was to be excited about work, to enjoy it so much that I willingly and eagerly read up more.
It seems like nobody cared about doctors working long hours until someone else was affected by it. Is it wrong for me to be bitter about this? That a layperson had to die before anybody cared about the doctors who were suffering? Ilne Markwat was not the first intern do die or suffer serious disability from exhaustion. If it was just her, and no other person injured, would anybody beyond her family and colleagues have cared?
I started working on this post on two days. Since then, I have received news of a colleague who died in an accident while driving post-call. She went to my alma mater and graduated last year, and though I did not know her personally, my heart breaks. A country with a shortage of doctors has lost a young doctor who was just starting in her career. She was well-loved, and we will all feel her absence.
A few weeks ago, the community around one of the hospitals where I work picked up their torches and pitchforks (well, sort of) and protested again. I’ve written before about South Africa’s protest state of mind, and about working during a riot.
The first time I partook in a baby’s resuscitation was during my fourth year of medical school. It was a disaster: the wall-suction malfunctioned, the nursing staff were in the precarious business of changing shifts, and all algorithms flew out of the window.
I vowed optimistically that when I was a doctor, I would not let a baby die that way.
I want to address some pertinent falsehoods about health and fitness, and why the disenfranchised have such a hard time of it.
And then there are some of my colleagues who just really make me want to be a better person – and a better doctor.