Train your trainees

Sometimes, I think clinicians forget that they were inexperienced and under-qualified juniors once, too. There is nothing admirable about learning to place an intercostal drain on YouTube, without senior supervision, as many of us like to brag.

What If Everything You Knew About Breastfeeding Was Wrong?

How does one react to seeing a book cover that claims breast feeding is “big business and bad policy”? If you’re me, you request a review copy of that book, fully intending to expose how wrong it is. As a medical student, one of the important things I was taught again and again is this:Continue reading “What If Everything You Knew About Breastfeeding Was Wrong?”

Implanon in the Bible. Apparently.

ME: I’m sorry to tell you that you’ve had a complete miscarriage. HER: Oh. Okay. ME: Was this a planned pregnancy? HER: No! It was an accident. ME: Are you planning a pregnancy in the near future? HER: Not really. I have one already. I can’t afford another baby. ME: Then I think we should discuss familyContinue reading “Implanon in the Bible. Apparently.”

Two beautiful stories from OBGYN

OBGYN is considered one of our “big” internship rotations. The hours are long, the calls are busy, the responsibility is huge. I love when a baby is born. For the sake of honesty I’ll tell you that it’s not always a happy occasion. There are many, many babies born into seriously less-than-ideal situations. But inContinue reading “Two beautiful stories from OBGYN”

“The Spinal is Working”

A woman lies on the operating table. The medical officer and the intern are draping the patient while the scrub nurse readies her instrument tables. An awkward smell surrounds us out of nowhere. The nurse says, “The spinal is working,” to indicate that the patient “did it”. Poor patient hardly has the opportunity to defendContinue reading ““The Spinal is Working””

War, Latin America and Pre-Eclampsia: A History

The 1970s was a turbulent time in Argentina, which was experiencing a military dictatorship and a lot of oppression. At this time, anybody considered to be a remote threat was eliminated; including many talented young people who could be considered ideological threats.
One young OBGYN in Argentina feared for his own life after his brother and sister-in-law – similarly well-educated – disappeared. Nobody knew where these thousands of young people were disappearing to, but years later it was revealed that many of them were loaded in airplanes and then dropped out into the ocean.

The Sangoma and the Intern

This is one of those you-know-you-work-in-Africa-when stories:

A young pregnant woman is admitted with severe early-onset pre-eclampsia. She is managed well and her blood pressures and kidney functions normalise. She is discharged for a few days with a return date and lots of medication.

At home, her condition worsens. When she develops anasarca, she seeks the help of a Sangoma. The Sangoma, after the required chat to the ancestors, declares that her client is severely ill and has been cursed.