Archive for February, 2008

Film: Sweeney Todd

Just prior to Chinese New Year, J. went to watch Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street with a couple of friends.

There was lots of murder… very prettily illustrated by the use of a thick, bright-red blood the consistency of paint.

The place depicted is a dark, joyless world viewed through the cynical eyes of Sweeney Todd, a barber who’s gifted with his razors. A story of revenge and living in the past.

The show is very dark. Even the story of love of the two young protagonists whose story takes a back seat to Sweeney’s terrible tale fails to lighten the world a single inch up until the very end.

J. likes it. He likes the cinematography, the morbid humour, the application of music to the environment, the way the story links and, of course, the disturbed characters of the leading man and lady.

Watch it, indulge your darker side, unless you’re all about puppies and butterflies.

Rotten Tomatoes Review: 83%

No, it’s not the best show for the festive period, it’s not.


White Coats in Canteen – Why so sensationalised?

Recently in Stomp, the online portal of The Straits Times, was a concerned reader who sent in pictures of some medical students who wore their white coats to eat at the science canteen. The link is here, note the innocuous-sounding title that disguises the pure stupid that follows:

Can doctors’ coats and lab coats spread infection in canteen?

Before we go any further, let’s point out that the students in question, who are classmates of J., probably weren’t thinking when they did what they did. White coats and stethoscopes in the science canteen? Isn’t it very warm? So yes, the medical students involved are definitely at fault.

The Dean of Medicine has replied to STOMP:

NUS: Students in white coats not a health hazard but have been counselled

The STOMPer K, however, sounds remarkably stupid because of his attempts to sound intelligent. J. thinks that he’s a complete asshole because of his sensationalisation of a previously legitimate concern.

Continue reading

Charging GST for Release of Wheel Clamp

There are signs all around the National University of Singapore campus that warn of the dangers of illegal parking. Beware! Illegally parked cars will be wheel-clamped! Release fee: $100 $107.

That’s right. The people in charge actually spent money pasting a 7 over a 0 for every sign on campus so that they can charge GST for the release of the wheel clamp. What the hell were they thinking? They’re charging tax for a wheel clamp release fee that they placed on? Wow!

J.’s imagining: “No food and drink allowed on the MRT. Fine: $535.” Maybe kidnappers (beware! death penalty in Singapore!) in the future should demand, [in a metallic voice via voice synthesiser], “We’ve got your kid. Leave 2 million and 70 thousand dollars in a black bag on Doesntexist Avenue.”

Scavenged: HP LaserJet 1300

The old Medical Society Room (Medsoc Rm) is soon to be torn down with the rest of the library. As such, most of the things inside were cleared out and moved to the makeshift Medsoc Rm elsewhere. However, there were a variety of items scattered about the room, doomed to be destroyed with the walls that housed them.

It was a travesty that a fully functioning HP LaserJet 1300, not used since its partner (the computer) went to the great junkyard in the sky, would be left behind to rot as the tasks of printing were taken over by a younger, fitter printer.

HP Laser Printer

So it was that J. besought the new members of the medical society for their permission to give the long-suffering HP LaserJet 1300 a new home, a place where its life purpose, to print large quantities of black and white pages, would be fulfilled to some extent. Medsoc graciously agreed.

And it works! Woohoo! Hurrah for laser printers! It even came with an unopened ink cartridge!

HP Laser Printer Cartridge

Now J. will only turn on his ink-grubbing Brother DCP-115C when he needs to scan or photocopy something.

Clear Communication

It’s a self-evident fact to those in the healthcare industry, but might not be obvious to those outside of it. The telephone is not a tool to transmit psychic thoughts. You wouldn’t think it, the way some people expect others to read their minds and come to the same conclusions… without the information.

Take the following example, a doctor who calls with the following info:

“Hello, ICU? This is Dr Toot from [Department-of-Choice]. I’ve got a problem here… This patient, Mr Loh, he’s sick and is now short of breath.”

And expects the ICU man to reply:

“Really?! That’s horrible! I’ll get a bed for him straightaway and send a porter down for him. Because I know he’s got severe COPD and needs ventilation.”

Um. No, that’s not how it works. What happens is that the ICU man is going to want to know what happened. Now if the first doctor had said the following:

“Hello, ICU? Dr Toot from [Department-of-Choice]. I need an ICU bed. There’s a patient here Mr Loh, 76-year-old smoker with COPD, admitted in Type II respiratory failure with a respiratory rate of 32 breaths/min confirmed by an ABG showing respiratory acidosis pH 7.10, pCO2 60 mmHg on admission. We put him on positive airway ventilation 1 hour ago but he’s not responding well, his pH went up to 7.12.”

Note that there is

  1. Clear identification
  2. Intent
  3. Reasoning and background information

Similarly, the same approach should be present in communication outside the healthcare system.

Continue reading

Blood Donation #2 – Points learnt

J. returned to the NUH Blood Donation Centre for the second time since his September visit, this time with two friends.

Everyone reasonably knows that if one frequents the services provided by the fine ladies of Geylang’s dark alleys, shoots up with recreational drugs on a daily basis, is on tuberculosis treatment or long-term medication for epilepsy, that blood should not be donated, yes?

Today (and including one point from last time), J. learnt some new contraindications:

  • Staying in a European country for 5 years or more
  • Within 1 day of having scaling done on teeth
  • Within 1 year of a needlestick injury regardless of negative results

Incidentally, J. would like to point out that the 16-gauge needle is truly a “wide-bore” needle and looks pretty formidable. Fortunately, thanks to subcutaneous injection of lignocaine with a 24G needle prior, the insertion of the 16-gauge cannula was absolutely painless. It helped that J. has large veins and the sister had no need to ‘topo’.

Possible CG Rift

Final MBBS Examination is drawing near, and it seems that stress and competition bring out the worst in man (and women, for those who value political correctness over liguistic ease).

So it is that roughly hewn clinical groups thrown together from small semi-permanent subgroups of 1-3 members have failed to a certain degree; possibly more so than the groupings of 8 that used to exist.

It is with some disappointment that J. sees a possible rift within his own CG.

Continue reading