She was a healthy young woman who came to see me for a “complete check-up” before a holiday overseas. Although I tend to think “complete” check-ups are somewhat overkill, they do present a good opportunity for health promotion and disease prevention. As one does, I asked about sexual history and family planning. She hesitated just a split second before answering, “Well, my only partner is a woman, so I don’t have to worry about pregnancy scares.” And then, we moved on. Continue reading “Doctor. Counsellor. Freedom Fighter.”
If you’ve been reading South African news, you’ll know that at least 300 interns and community service doctors stand to be unemployed next year, due to a lack of funded posts at accredited institutions.
Perhaps you read about our inhumane working hours last year.
Perhaps you have read about the overflowing hospitals where patients pile up in the corridors.
These are not new problems, we just hear about them more because doctors and patients have phones with cameras, and social media accounts.
Breaking this unintentional hiatus to tell you (read: shout from the rooftops) that I have watched Doc-u-mentally and
Whenever I talk about my love for child health, and my intention to pursue it as a career, I get this kind of response:
“Oh, I could never work with kids. It just breaks my heart to see them suffer!”
I don’t get it. Continue reading “Why I Paed”
Every few months, the mental health of doctors/medical students makes it to popular media. It seems like these spikes in attention occur, and everyone shouts YOU SHOULD CARE FOR YOUR DOCTORS! and then we write blogs and we tweet and we make youtube videos and eventually we go back to work, and nothing has changed.
I think we are the missing link. And by “we”, I mean qualified doctors. And also, you, the older doctors. Continue reading “Mental Health Begins With Medical Students”
If you’ve been paying attention, working hours of doctors (especially junior doctors) have been getting some good airtime over the past few months. The Province of the Western Cape has committed to actively reducing maximum continuous working hours for doctors to twenty-four, the HPCSA has promised to “look into it” (not that we have too much confidence there), and our biggest representative, SAMA (South African Medical Association) has come out in our support.
One of the things to come from all this is the launching of an armband campaign. This has its origins, I believe, from a similar campaign in the UK – although I have not been able to find any source to this link.
It’s funny how sometimes, long after the fact, you start questioning your levels of care and competence.
During my first rotation of internship (last year), which was Obstetrics and Gynaecology, I was one of the few interns willing to do pregnancy terminations. (For the purposes of this blog, the matter is not up for debate – I have been pro-choice for nearly half my life, and have thoroughly evaluated my own beliefs.)
Just recently I’ve found myself thinking back on those four months and wondering if I did everything I could, and if I was empathic enough. Continue reading “Abortion Care: Did I Provide My Best?”
My four-month stint on the paediatric service comes to an end this week.
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 about all my cases.
It may have been one of the most challenging rotations – and it was good to see myself growing in confidence and ability.
There is so much work to do in paediatric healthcare, especially because you inadvertently treat the caregivers as well. And women are another group so sorely neglected in our environment. Continue reading “Does It Have To End?”
I started working on this post two days ago. 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.
As it stands, when this specific community protests, they protest right outside the hospital. No matter the reason for protesting, they block all entrances to the hospital and threaten anybody who tries to circumvent them.
Police told us to turn around. We called our superiors. They told us to come to work. Continue reading “Threatened By The People We Serve”