On Call During A Riot

Last night while on call I treated rubber bullet injuries.

I treated MANY rubber bullet injuries.

If you thought rubber bullets only cause bruising – well, you’d be wrong. They can penetrate. During my fourth year forensic pathology rotation, we did an autopsy on a man who died due to a rubber bullet embolism.  Continue reading “On Call During A Riot”

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Should Doctors Be Allowed To Nap On The Job? (Response)

During an off time on call last night (I’m on anaesthesiology now, which means I have time to breathe on calls) I read this article on BBC. And wow, did it rub me up the wrong way.

Basically, a patient in Mexico snapped a picture of a young doctor who fell asleep during her shift, and people mouthed off about it on the internet.

docs not sleep Continue reading “Should Doctors Be Allowed To Nap On The Job? (Response)”

Does New Data on Patient Confidentiality Change Anything?

The recent NPR-Truven Health Analytics Poll data illuminated some interesting data. In this poll, 3,000 Americans were interviewed about their concerns (or lack thereof) regarding their health records.

worries-about-health-records-by-location_custom-3bbb3a48b149d38b528a203d5bbf4d564c9a8fad-s400-c85Surprisingly, by the responses it seems at first glance that American patients are not all that concerned about the confidentiality of their health records. As per the executive summary, “16 percent of respondents have privacy concerns regarding health records held by their health insurer. 14 percent have concerns about records held by their hospital, 11 percent with records held by their physician, and 10 percent with records held by their employer.” Continue reading “Does New Data on Patient Confidentiality Change Anything?”

I’m an early-adopter and this is a rant

There’s a story I tell hopefuls wishing to run for student government. Near the end of 2011 I was elected as chairperson of my med school’s student government. I had made big promises  during my campaign and so the first thing I did was (try to) get a meeting with the CEO of our training hospital. Of course, I was told by the gatekeeper’s that a puny little med student can’t just get a meeting with the big important man so instead I had to meet with a faculty member and tell her why I wanted to meet with the CEO and she would decide if I was worthy.  (RED TAPE! WOO-HOO!)

One of my big points was safety of students in hospital. I said we wanted radical changes made that would ensure better safety for students at all hours of the day. I thought it laughable that such a massive hospital in a dangerous part of the city had so few safety measures. But this was not deemed important enough. More insultingly, the faculty member did not accept it as a valid point at all. The response, and I quote this verbatim (I still have the minutes of that awful meeting) was, “We have never had any complaints about this, so we will not be putting such measures in place.” Continue reading “I’m an early-adopter and this is a rant”

Humane Hours for Junior Doctors is a Matter of National Importance

There is a petition on Change.org for better working hours for junior doctors in South Africa. Despite the fact that there are far more than 1 000 doctors in South Africa, only 831 people have signed it so far.

Because I got some interesting responses to previous posts about working conditions, a quick low-down on the status-quo: junior doctors (freshly qualified up to three years after graduation) work insane hours in South African public hospitals. Calls are as a rule 24 hours long, but the doctor does not get to leave afterwards: they have to stay for the next working day. The State will not pay a junior doctor for more than 80 hours overtime per month, and yet junior doctors work on average 150-200 hours overtime per month.  Continue reading “Humane Hours for Junior Doctors is a Matter of National Importance”

On ComServe, and the Desroches Case

My friends and I have this joke among ourselves. We say that medical school is like slavery. But then we say, it’s actually WORSE than slavery, because we PAY to work ridiculous hours in ridiculous conditions. As you can see it’s kind of more of a tragedy, but we’ve chosen to make it a joke. For our sanity’s sake.

So in light of that you might be surprised to find that my overwhelming feeling towards the Miguel Desroches case is not a good one.

comserve Continue reading “On ComServe, and the Desroches Case”

Demystifying Women’s Health

If you want to rile me up, you should talk about women’s health. Even the word, Women’s Health, annoys me. Why should only issues relating to my genitalia and my baby-making organs and my female hormones be referred to as Women’s Health, but the rest of me is… what? Men’s Health? And for that matter, why should cervical cancer or endometriosis or ovarian failure be the concern of women only? Just because men don’t get the disease does not mean that it does not affect them.

womenhealth Continue reading “Demystifying Women’s Health”

Cure for AIDS: In the Pipeline?

https://i1.wp.com/www.cartoonstock.com/newscartoons/cartoonists/rmc/lowres/rmcn70l.jpgWhen 28 Stories for AIDS in Africa inspired me to study medicine, I thought I was brilliant enough to find a cure to HIV. I imagined that state-of-the-art laboratory equipment, combined with the drive of curing my patients, would slip everything into place. I imagined that, like a light bulb, the solution would suddenly be clear. I didn’t want fame and fortune, and I still don’t. I want people to get better.

Soon enough I learned that the solution to HIV/AIDS is less simple than slotting numbers together in a mathematical equation. It’s more complex than the chemistry I devoted my time to both in high school and the beginning of university.

Continue reading “Cure for AIDS: In the Pipeline?”

Being Culturally Sensitive in One’s Pursuits

I’ve written before about abortion rights and about the dangers of preventing women from exercising reproductive choice: It’s simple – they resort to illegal means.

Despite my belief in offering a choice, articles about Women on Waves‘s latest attempt to enter Morocco, disgusted me. And let me be clear: I’m disgusted by their attempt, not by the government’s refusal to allow them entrance.

This was posted by PostSecret.com (one of my favorite sites/projects). Abortion-themed PostSecrets are quite common. Click for more.

Continue reading “Being Culturally Sensitive in One’s Pursuits”