How a Hypothetical Selfish Prick Would Mess Up People’s Calls

To illustrate my point, I’m going to use a hypothetical situation. Let’s imagine that there’s somebody from my senior (by one year) batch in medical school. To make him look really villainous yet incompetent, let’s say… he failed his final exams and had to wait another 6 months to pass his final MBBS examination. This imaginary friend is a big fan of the digital Ixus brand of cameras… so let’s call him Canon (“Delighting you always.”)

On his last week of General Medicine posting he was placed on Saturday HO2 call (hypothetically, just because the TTSH Gen Med HO2 call is miserable). The day before the call (Friday), he is frantically trying to avoid doing his call.

He asks HO-on-Call-on-Friday and says he was on call two days prior, he claims. HO-on-call looks at him like he’s crazy. “I’m on call today! I can’t be on call two days in a row!”

He asks HO-on-Call-on-Thursday and says he was on call one day prior. HO-on-Call-on-Thursday looks at him incredulously. “Hello… me too. I didn’t even have a chance to see my call room yesterday.” She neglects to check whether he was, in fact, on call.

He asks Too-Damn-Hardworking-But-Easily-Bullied-HO and uses the EOD call excuse again. Said HO points out that she’s on call on Monday.

Let’s say he then calls me and asks me to swap calls with Too-Damn-Hardworking so that Too-Damn-Hardworking can do his call because there’s been some mix-up and his posting would have ended on Friday (It hadn’t). I agree, thinking that hey, what’s the difference to me? And it would save him a bit of trouble. So let’s say I was supposed to meet up with friends back from overseas that day but I cancel on them. Canon says that he would update the Gen Med office.

Apparently Too-Damn-Hardworking rejects him. But let’s say no one informs me.

He asks HO-who’s-taking-over-sick-person-call and says he will be feeling unwell on Saturday. Said HO, being too nice to say ‘No’ outright, but being way too tired from the frequent calls, tells him “Um… I don’t think soo… Maybe I’ll think about it.”

Canon thinks, “SCORE!” and proceeds to tell people that the said HO is doing the call.

The next day, Chua… um… Canon… comes for his regular ward work but then proceeds to avoid his call altogether. He has completely and utterly failed to convince anyone to do his call. The nurses, unable to contact the house officer, go up the chain of command and start calling his MO. The MO, swamped with cases, fails to answer all of the calls, naturally, and the Registrar started getting called. They see him walking about casually chatting on his personal phone in the hospital.

Eventually, HO4, being less busy, had to move up to HO2 (more busy) while MO4, suddenly having to do a stepdown HO/MO call becomes damn bloody busy.

But wait, there’s more!

He not only neglects to inform the parties involved of his shenanigans, he unilaterally informs the General Medicine office of his desired changes and claims that all involved have agreed.

The next day… I show up with my call bag and idly click through the daily on call. “Hmm… Damn-Hardworking is listed on call. I’d better check with her.” As it turned out, she was on call and the change of calls hadn’t occurred. Alright then, time to go for the ol’ reunion. And a quick message was sent.

At 5.00pm, as I was gloved up about to go help with a blood culture, level 8 started calling me. Incessantly. Reptitively. About new admissions, IV cannulas, capillary blood glucose. “Why are you calling me! I’m not the HO on call!”

Apparently, thanks to Canon at 3pm that day the Daily On Call HO2 had switched from Innocent-HO to myself. In a desperate bid to sort things out, I had to call a couple of folks before finding out that Innocent-HO was wandering the wards in her scrubs, wondering why the call had started out so well.

Two days later… Damn-Hardworking-HO’s name was… out of the sudden at 11am on the Daily-On-Call for HO1 instead of myself. I had to call the operator and General Medicine Department a couple of times to sort out the issue.

So, you can see… this hypothetical HO Canon is pretty much a failure as a HO. When one lacks both competence, intelligence and character… the thought of such a person being a doctor is pretty dang scary. Good thing he’s only hypothetical, eh? And not someone who’s actually finished his second Gen Med HO posting. If you have to work with a real version of this imaginary HO, you’d better watch your back, eh?

Disclaimer: All similarities to any actual person is purely coincidental.


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Summersbloom on November 12, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    Hi, I just started reading your blog a few days ago. Reading this reminds me of watching ‘Scrubs’. It cracks me up. :)

    Have fun at work!


  2. Haha I love ‘Scrubs’ it’s hilarious. Thanks for the comment!


  3. Posted by plhu on November 20, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    every HO’s nightmare.
    or MO’s.
    but no, i’m sure nothing like actually happened. of course not.


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