* * Anonymous Doc

Friday, February 5, 2010

Just to address the comments on the last post -- my friend and the nurse -- he asked her out, she politely declined, he thinks it's crazy awkward now even though it really isn't, so he acts weird around her, regrets ever taking a chance, and she seems to feel pretty bad about it.

I had a patient yesterday, young girl but not that young, mid-20s-- we were talking, and in the middle of the visit, all of a sudden she asks if she can have a female doctor instead. I didn't think I'd done anything wrong-- turns out I hadn't-- but I sheepishly went and told the attending who was supervising, and she went in to talk to the patient. Fifteen minutes later she comes back out and tells me she hopes I wasn't beating myself about anything-- the patient is about to get married, and had some questions about how the baby-making process works-- where it grows, how it happens, what it feels like, what to do to help make sure it's a boy (??)-- and felt more comfortable asking a woman. After my post earlier this week about the lack of health literacy among patients... I feel like this went even deeper than that-- this patient literally did not know where a baby comes out. Shouldn't this come up at some point before people turn 25? Did she not see Knocked Up?

The e-mail lists have been passing around an article this week (here's a link) about a guy in medical school who posted a picture on Facebook posing with his anatomy lab cadaver, smiling and holding two thumbs up (his, not the cadaver's). The reaction is of course the right one-- it's beyond unprofessional to take a picture with your anatomy lab cadaver, it's disrespectful to the deceased and his family, to say it's in poor taste is a huge understatement-- but anyone who thinks it's an isolated incident is fooling himself. By necessity, after the first couple of days of anatomy lab, first year of medical school, you have to sort of block out the fact that you're in a room filled with dead people. We're forced to cut into the bodies, dissect them, examine them-- they cease to be people. They're lab specimens. And we were there three hours a day. So of course people end up letting their guard down, people make jokes-- not always tasteful jokes. Obviously there's a line, and certainly taking a picture, with you smiling and standing over the cadaver, and posting it on Facebook-- well, that seems to unambiguously cross the line-- but it's not as if everyone else is behaving in a way that the families of the deceased would be thrilled about.

What I think is amusing about the article is part of the school's intended response:

"The medical school will also develop a social media policy, a set of guidelines that will lay out for students what is appropriate and not appropriate to post on social networking sites."

Something goes wrong? Develop a policy. Of course. Because that will fix everything.


  1. I think the salient point in that article was that the cadaver is a GIFT to the students to further their medical education, and that's what they should bear in mind before they behave so immaturely. And it's the fear of this behavior happening that probably make donating one's body to science less frequent than it could be. And probably why many of these cadavers are unclaimed bodies (and therefore it's easier to make jokes, perhaps, because they aren't seen as being as worthy of respect?). But I agree -- making policy as reaction to everything is just stupid. I work in the pharmaceutical (biotech, actually) industry and even that once-free thinking, creative environment has now been choked off with a fucking SOP for everything. . . An SOP or policy is no substitute for mature, professional behavior. -- Miss__Tina

  2. Perhaps it's worth thinking about using "woman" for adult females?

    You wouldn't use "boy" for a 20 something man such as yourself, would you?

  3. Oh no! Did the nurse say why? It might be because they work side by side in that case he could transfer to another department or she could. Any way you should take him out and have a drink or two women will be throwing themselves at him. Awkward yes but it will go away soon

  4. About the young woman about to be married...all I can say is wow. Just wow. I can not fathom that level of ignorance of a twenty-something individual in 21st century America being that ignorant. Poor gal, I hope she gets the confidence to take charge of her body, visit the library, and do some learning.

  5. I'm a student at that school. The weirdest thing about that whole scandal was that the pic was on that guy's facebook page for years before someone narc'd on him.