Archive for November, 2009

Vaccines – a victim of its on effectiveness

The other day, J. was discussing the recent flu vaccine with his cousin who said that “vaccines are not really necessary now, right? there’s not a lot of these diseases around anyway”.

Sarcastic analogy time!

You know, J. believes that proper sewerage systems are overrated and a waste of money. Look around you now. What is the incidence rate of cholera in Singapore? All these sewer systems can break down, burst open the road and cause road disruptions. They are a waste of taxpayers money. Sewerage systems bad.

End of analogy!

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First Impressions – Not Stepping Up to the Plate = BAD

A new medical officer (NMO) joined the department and was assigned to a surgical team. An experienced medical officer (EMO1) was on call for the operating room call (this MO stays in the OT/OR, does the small cases like amputations, saucerisations and appendicectomies, as well as assisting in larger cases like laparotomies) on the same day as a department farewell dinner. He was looking for someone to ‘sell’ his call to.

Operating room calls are hot stuff, they sell like hotcakes to the surgically inclined. Almost every surgical trainee (or surgical trainee wannabe) appreciates more experience in the operating room. Furthermore, OT calls involve no direct responsibility for patients (As compared to the A&E or ward calls), allowing the on-call to focus purely on gaining more surgical exposure.

EMO1 entered the MO room (containing NMO, J., H, K and TJ) and asks to swap out a call. J., H and K are on call the day after EMO1. TJ is on call the day before. So EMO1 asks NMO since (a) he has no calls in that period of time (b) he wants to do surgery (c) he’s a new MO and thus really doesn’t need to go for the department farewell dinner. NMO politely declines since he “doesn’t want to do calls so early”, and wants to do “tag-on calls” first. EMO1 shrugs and says he will just do the call then.

TJ, who is also an experienced MO (EMO2), can barely hide his contempt: NMO is “the person who says he wants to do surgery but doesn’t want to do an OT call”, instead, he wants to do “tag-on calls” – voiced with a tone of disdain accompanied by airquote gestures.

Really, that’s not the way to start building your reputation on your first surgical rotation.