Archive for January, 2011

the value of a good training

Posted in cloudy days, doctoring tales on January 31, 2011 by twotwoeight

I have utmost respect for the people who stay in service despite all the pitfalls and inadequacies of the system, and continue to contribute to the training of young doctors, to help mold them to become good, caring health professionals who can serve our nation.  This task of training has become increasingly challenging, what with the number of house officers increasing in leaps and bounds.

Although I have not been in this profession for a long time, even I have come to notice the evolution of the training house officers receive.  It was not too long ago that demeaning punishment was handed out without a blink, harsh words were used and even downright humiliating scenes were played out in public, the victim of course being the young doctor.  Did I accept it? Yes.  Because that was all deemed part of the “training”, the character building, and so we took the bad with the good, and we picked up the good part of the “lessons”.  Do I condone it? No.

Things have come a long way since then, and it’s not even been that many years that has passed.  These days, with the overwhelming number of house officers, it is an almost impossible task to supervise every single one and to train them.  However, this has always been part of the responsibility of us in service, and will forever more remain so.  Like I said, I do not agree with demeaning and unreasonable ways, but there has to be a mutual respect and understanding of one’s roles and responsibilities.  If you want to be treated like an adult, and respected as a doctor, you first have to behave and act like one.

Being a doctor is not a bed of roses, and graduating from medical school is only a very small step in the journey of becoming a good doctor.  Everything starts from here.  Your early years in training will help shape you and often determine the kind of doctor you are going to be.  It is not a glorifying job.  It is not an easy life.  It is not going to be a path to riches.  It is not going to be full of laughter and good times.  It is definitely not going to be ER or Healing Hands or whatever medical tv series you adore.  But it is your choice.  YOU chose to be in this profession.  And hence, YOU should be prepared to go through the hardship and training that is going to make you the kind of doctor you want to be.  Be it filled with tears, sleepless nights, scoldings, humiliation, mental fatigue or fear.  Be prepared to be humble, to want to learn, to soak up whatever information you come across, to ask when you do not know, to open up the reference books when you are unsure, to be proactive and not wait to be spoon-fed information, to be polite to your patients and peers and subordinates, to be a team player and along the way, continue to be a person with good core values.


be lazy and throw your weight around, be calculative and put up invisible barriers around yourself, be ignorant and guess things you don’t know instead of checking the facts, be irresponsible and cause harm to other innocent people, come to work not wanting to learn, expect other people to clean up your mess and pick up behind you, misuse public facilities just because they are public, pilfer things which don’t belong to you and, don’t think that everyone else is out to victimize you just because you are a house officer.

The task of training is not an easy one. With complaints and grouses from all sides, be it from the young doctors, or their parents or the higher authorities, there are constantly new challenges to overcome, and this task becomes significantly harder to fulfill, especially when you have to make sure everyone is happy.  If we all could step back and look at the big picture instead of focusing on the short term gains and nitty gritty details, then we will realize the true value of a good training. These young doctors will progress further and eventually become your doctors or your children’s doctors.  Look around you and tell me honestly, how many will you trust your loved ones’ lives with?  Will you feel safe and satisfied if you know your family or your relatives are under their care? Will you go to any of them if you are unwell?

If you can order 120mls of antibiotics four times a day for an infant because you are careless, if you can order 25mg/kg of an antibiotic which dose is supposed to be 5mg/kg AND give it 4 times a day instead of once a day as it is supposed to be simply because you didn’t know but yet refuse to open the book to double check, if you leave your sharps not in the correct bin and cause needle stick injuries to poor unsuspecting cleaners, then the answer is NO.

People always say, you can’t compare the current generation to the last one because one will always hope that things keep getting better for future generations.  However, this may not be the best in this situation.  The work done by a few house officers previously is now shared by 20 over people.  Hence, there are hardly enough learning opportunities present and this, coupled with poor attitude and lack of initiative, is only going to be a deadly combination.  Deadly, for the unfortunate unsuspecting patients who will come into their care.

This situation need to be rectified.  How? This is beyond me. I am already disheartened.  I have nothing but respect and admiration for those who have been fighting this uphill battle for years, and still continue to do so with a smile. I can only do what I am capable of, and continue to give my service until the point when I feel it is futile.  Hopefully, that day won’t come so soon.


Musca domestica, up close and personal

Posted in random bits, through the lens on January 27, 2011 by twotwoeight

Last weekend, during dinner at BT, we got to see a different kind of domestic “helper” up close.

This domestic “helper” was so deep in concentration on sucking up every last bit of fruit enzyme on the table that it was oblivious to its surroundings.

And it totally ignored us Homo sapiens even though my camera was just a few centimetres away!

This, is what we call dedication 😉

Kids say the darndest things

Posted in doctoring tales, kidz talk on January 20, 2011 by twotwoeight

The other day, I was referred an 8 years old boy for bilateral inguinal lymphadenitis.  This boy was admitted for pain in his lower limbs following a fall after being pushed by his friend.

Me : Boleh doktor tengok tempat yang sakit tu?

Shyguy : Tak boleh.

Me : Kenapa? Doktor nak tengok, baru boleh bagi ubat. Okay?

Shyguy : Tak boleh…malulah. Banyak orang!

Me : Okay, okay. Kita tutup semua, cuma ibu dengan saya tengok saja, boleh?

Shyguy : *beams* Okay!

After drawing the curtains close…

Me : Tunjuk saya mana yang sakit?

Shyguy : Sini…(pointing to his inguinal regions). Ada kelenjar di sini hari tu.

Me : Ya ke…mari saya tengok.

Shyguy : Doctor tahu apa tu kelenjar?

Me : (wah…kena quizzed by an 8 years old boy pulak) Saya tahu…adik tahu ke?

Shyguy : Tahu! (enthusiastically) Kelenjar tu jahat! Buat orang sakit!

Me : Hahahaha…bukan, kelenjar tu sebenarnya baik…dia tolong tapis kuman supaya kuman tak boleh lari sini sana dalam badan.

Shyguy : Ohhhhhhh…..

Me : Macam mana boleh terjatuh semalam? Main dengan kawan? Gaduh?

Shyguy : Gaduh lah…

Me : Kenapa gaduh?

Shyguy : Sebab duit lah!

Me : (shocked!) Wah…sebab duit??? Berapa banyak duit?

Shyguy : Satu ringgit

Me : Satu ringgit? (even more shocked) Siapa punya duit?

Shyguy : Kita orang terjumpa…habis, nasib lah…siapa yang cepat, dia punya lah.

Me : Oh…itu sebab kawan tolak kamu, ya…

Shyguy : Yalah. Dia tarik saya, habis dua-dua terpelanting.

Me : *sweat*

Incidentally, he did not have lymphadenitis.  I actually had another very interesting conversation with a 6 years old Chinese girl today, but it was in Mandarin and the meaning would be lost in translation.  Conversations with kids always brighten up my days, and the best part is you’ll always be surprised at what they can tell you! And this, is one of the reasons why I love paediatrics. 😉


Goodbye frantic December, hello January.

Posted in family, love on January 6, 2011 by twotwoeight

December was a whirlwind of activities — started with a much-needed island getaway with my two best friends, then the farewell preparations at work for my boss and of course, the highlight of the month, my sister’s wedding.

The “wedding carnival” (as my boss put it) began with the hen’s night – lots of embarrassing moments captured…

Then the dinner in PJ where the Wong-Trap Family Singers got the chance to show off their stuff!

Then the “chut mun” ceremony where we got to torture Alvin and his entourage…

And finally the drive up to Ipoh for the second dinner.

December, you were truly wonderful, despite the chaotic nomadic days.  I am already beginning to miss you.

January, I embraced you with mixed feelings.  Your arrival heralds a new beginning, and possibilities of better brighter days…but inevitably, your end will bring a farewell.  I have never been good at goodbyes, and this one will be exceptionally difficult.  Nevertheless, all in good stride.

February, please be kind to me.