Wednesday, October 17, 2007

What they don't teach you in the medical school

A few words of advice to doctors and dentists (bitter, who, me?):

1. While some patients are quite accepting of profanity, "holy shit, come here, check this out!" and "what the fuck is that?" are not phrases that are generally considered to be a good bedside manner. Neither are "eek!" and "oh my god!".

2. Telling a crying 2-year-old with an injured leg "shut up, or I'll break the other one too" is not likely to get the volume down a lot. Apart from the increased screaming it might also cause pain in your jaw if a parent is within the hearing range.

3. When you are cutting something off or up, make sure it's the right body part of the right patient. When applying local anesthesia, also make sure you apply it to the right place. If you are doing both, make sure you anethesize the part you are going to cut, and not another one. If you are not good at matching the anesthesia with the surgery, at least position yourself so that your face is out of reach of the patient's swinging arms, legs and other appendages.

4. Giving medical treatment by force is illegal in most jurisdictions except in some special cases. For reasons of personal safety it should also never be done to a person considerably larger than yourself.

5. Keeping track of people's cholesterol is important, but if you try to treat all the cases of ankle injury or eye inflammation with a cholesterol checkup referral your patients might feel a bit dissatisfied with the service.

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