This post is raw and holds nothing back. If you’re uncomfortable with vulgar language, please turn back.
April 9, 2007
Greetings from the glorious time of life referred to as the third year of medical school/the breeding ground of antisocial personalities. I’m presently in the midst of my surgery rotation after having done IM, neurology, EM, family med, psych, and OB/GYN.
The following is exactly how I felt during an evening at the end of my day. Don’t try to say you will never sound as angry, cynical, or crazy as this. I didn’t think I would either, but trust me, it happens.
There was a time when I was a nice person. I vaguely remembered that time, but after the 14th hour of being at the hospital, I’m sitting in the ICU – waiting for the attending to finish his stupid story about the fish he caught that one time that was ‘this big’ – and a horrible thought crosses my mind. “We still have 4 more patients to round on . . . “
I drop my eyes to our patient census and skim the list. There is Mrs. Smith, 85 YO WF w/COPD, CAD, CHF, past MI, recent ileostomy. Look she has pneumonia and she’s on a vent. Even better, she hasn’t been conscious for a week, lived in an ECF, and her family left her full code. Mrs. Smith is on three different antibiotics, which aren’t doing anything to budge her raging sepsis and she’s on the dobutamine drip that seem to not be raising her BP the least bit. Our other three patients are in pretty similar sad shapes. They are all going to die.
Then the next horrible though crosses my mind, ‘can’t these fricking people just die so I can go home already?” Yes, I did just wish some innocent grandma to die because her terminal illness is ruining my day. All of our efforts are completely futile in her case, but when she starts coding tomorrow, I’ll have to go with the team to attempt to save her. Which will put us even further behind on our ever growing census. Thanks dumb grieving family for putting ME through this.
Now I glance at my resident who is still nodding at the stupid story. I’m so annoyed with you that if I had an uzi I’d be gunning for you. Why the hell haven’t you let me go home? The med students don’t even see the ICU patients because this is our surgery rotation. I’ve been here doing nothing for two hours. I can’t write orders, I can’t see patients by myself, and the patients we are seeing I don’t even round on. You aren’t teaching me – no, pimping isn’t teaching – and since you’ve ignored my existence except when I failed to give you that imaginary crucial bit of info the attending scooped you on, why am I still here?
Attending, if I shot the resident, you’re next. Stop telling the fucking story and let me leave. You didn’t bother to show up here until after 7pm to round on your patients, and I know your last surgery ended at 4pm because I was there. I was that med student who held the retractor for two hours that you periodically yelled at for not being able to identify random things in a body cavity that I was too far away to even see beyond my retractor. Don’t you dare start whining about how much harder you worked in residency before the 80 hour work week. In case you haven’t noticed, the 80 work week is a joke and I was here 100 hours last week. So fuck you and shut the hell up.
You know, the hospital doesn’t have metal detectors to use on the staff. I look around at the members of my team and try to figure out which one of us are going to snap, go postal, and start mowing down the patients and the oh-so annoying nurses. Who has been abused the most? The other med student who is getting treated like shit for stating he wanted to go into peds? Or maybe the intern that was left in charge of 50 patients alone while the residents went to the OR and is about to getting it for not knowing Mr. L’s latest potassium. What the hell, it’s totally going to be me, the sweet innocent seeming seething ball of rage that I am.
One hour later, we are sent home and reminded to be back before 5am tomorrow. Thanks, like I’m going to forget that since it means I’ll be heading to bed immediately upon getting home. I see people coming out from dinner at the local resturaunts and I hate them for having real lives. I debate briefly about whether I can hit some of them in the crosswalk and get away with it. Probably not, but prison seems like a good alternative to going back to the hospital tomorrow.
As I finally get ready for bed, I think back about how much I hate the hospital and how awesome it would be if it got hit by an asteroid or something between now and when I’m supposed to be there. Then I have the horrible thought – in the event of a natural disaster, I would have to stay at the hospital even longer.
**MDAlien would like to point out that most of the anti-social feelings went away after she got off the service – except those toward the attending. No patients were harmed or mishandled in the survival of that rotation. **
Are you convinced to leave medicine? If so, you may feel like you are alone. You may feel clueless about what to do next. However, quitting medicine could turn out better than you have ever thought possible. And here is why you should get out …
This article is part of Hoover’s Med School Hell series. Med School Hell reveals the crazy truth about the crappiness of the US medical education and healthcare system … while making you laugh so hard, you’ll crap in your pants.