16 December 2006


Yes, I've been away for a bit, I apologise unreservedly now.

You see, in the words of modern medical education, I have been experiencing the patient pathway from an alternative perspective.

I've been a punter.

If you've ever been in hospital, you know it's not a pleasant experience. Let me tell you, it's even worse when you know exactly how fucked up it all is.

I dunno whether other patients would remind nurses when they need time critical medication, I dunno whether other patients would question inappropriate medication prescribing or administration, I dunno whether other patients would be as nervous as I was if they knew too much about their condition.

Anyway, back now and only slightly worse for wear.

(And I would like that thank everyone who sent get well soon messages, it was very much appreciated)

Disillusionment in Medical School

Dr Crippen has recieved an interesting letter from a rather disenheartened medical student, you can read it (and his excellent blog) here.

Many of the commentators on the blog have made, what I feel, is the rather uninformed and derogatory comment that this is just a student thing, just a temporary moment of doubt or, perhaps worst, that he deserves nothing less.

This is clearly more than an isolated person having a momentary crisis of confidence.Medical students are far from fools and, unlike many other students, we have a predetermined path, so we do tend to be a bit more clued up on what's going on. We look at things like MMC, like EWTD, the state of the NHS in general and the experiences of our friends who have progressed and I think it's fair to say that most of us have serious doubt.Why would you want to commit five or six (or more) years of your life and upwards of £50,000 to an career where the only certainty is that you will be pissed on by practically everyone from the government downwards?

30 November 2006

Rules For Medical Students

In a fairly random bit of work avoidance, a couple of us have decided to try to compile a short list of essential bits of wisdom for clinical medical students on firms.

  1. The more you put in, the more you get out.
  2. The more you put in, the more you are expected to put in.
  3. Never run when you can walk, never walk when you can stand still, never stand still when you can sit down.
  4. The student that sticks out gets hammered down.
  5. The student that sticks out gets the merit.
  6. Nobody Ever Really Fails.
  7. The consultant is always right.
  8. The ward sister is always right.
  9. When the overkeen international / gepper says that they have been in since nine, they have really been in since eight.

More to follow, suggestions welcome.

19 November 2006

Casino Royale

Very good movie.

Not very good Bond movie.

Still undecided.

14 November 2006

Off Topic

In a change from previous posts, I'm not going to be talking shop.

I've been having serious discussions about our christmas show. You would have thought that, with roughly a month to go, a script would be written, a cast would have been auditioned, equipment hire ordered and that rehearsals would be well under way. Especially with the director's wish that this be a more professional production.

What do you reckon?

The script at the moment consists of two pages.

rehearsals are going ahead this week (get involved!) without any script.

Nobody, least of all me, has any idea what kit I'll need to hire in.

So, it's going to be a bit of a rush job just like last year then.


I'm not sure why I care, my job is solely to advise on technical matters, hire in the appropriate kit and operate the sound and light for the final few rehearsals and the show nights.

I like to think of myself as hardcore drama, I've worked on every show bar one since I joined uni. And the one I didn't work directly on, I supervised from a distance. I care about drama and I would love to see it do well and I worry when it looks like it might not.

13 November 2006


Funny how things come around.

Today, this afternoon in particular, has been surprisingly fun. I was on call with an SHO from 10 til 8, I've seen nearly a dozen patients, in many cases I've been the first person they saw in A&E. I've been on three trauma calls, each nasty and unpleasant in their own way. I've helped make decisions and diagnoses and feel that I've actually done something worthwhile.

And I loved it.

I also especially like the fact that I have tomorrow morning off.

8 November 2006

Oh God

Now that i've remembered to update, I feel inclined to continue.

It's midnight.

I'm at work, and I'll be here for another hour and a half.

I'm exhausted, physically and mentally.

Three pints haven't really helped.

I've started making stupid mistakes and misjudgements.

Fortunately, it's only the union - it's not really important...

Being a full-time student and holding a union executive officer position and working some really irregular hours in the union is really a mistake, unfortunately, in my mind, the important two, the two that require my attention and my time isn't the one that's ultimately important.


I started this year, and this firm in particular, with so much enthusiasm.

Looking back, four weeks in, it's quite hard to identify the point at which I lost it.

I feel as if any enjoyment has been systematically beaten out of me by long hours, pointless make-work tasks & being ignored and replaced by complete and utter apathy.

I find it practically impossible to motivate myself to get out of bed and drag myself into the freezing pre-dawn morning to face another day of worthless boredom punctuated by being made to feel worthless, stupid and in the way.

I find it hard to blame the rest of the team, undoubtedly, they're all stressed and under pressure, working long hours in poor conditions. Understandably, the effort to teach and entertain a bunch of students must come hard. However, the firm is designated as a teaching firm, there's extra money in it for the boss, by all accounts a lot of money, I would like to think that the medical school (and the taxpayer at large) is getting value for money.

I could shoulder some of the blame myself, it's supposedly up to me to arrange my own teaching and learn independently. I apologise, I find this hard to do when it seems positively discouraged by members of the team who would rather we followed them whilst remaining discretely out of the way.

Ultimately, I am now just trying to ride out the last few weeks of this placement before rotating into something that's, hopefully, a little less unpleasant. I can not be bothered with the team, the patients or the work anymore.

tomorrow I may feel different - I doubt it.

20 October 2006


In the meantime, I bumped into my house officers in the pub.

Shame they won't be writing my assessment.

But on the other hand, it's definately a bonus to know them if the shit hits the fan.

Normal Service Resumed?

No chance.

The photo blog idea may have to be abandoned, in the circumstances where something vaguely interesting occurs, photography is fairly unwelcome - phone cameras are seen as the devils own (damn confidentiality rules!).

I guess the best thing to do is to carry on, albeit without the visual commentary, in the hope that someone might bother to read.

I am now a proper baby doctor. I have my own team, my own patients and my own mad run through a large London teaching hospital. I am now a clinical medical students.

The first two weeks of this, I have seen and done so much, some of which might even be of passing interest to you - if only to warn you of the dangers of not having private medical insurance.

I have seen some very, very sick patients (and I've managed not to make them any sicker, generally by getting out of the way). I have been in resus, holding some bloke's head together while the anaesthetist struggles to pass a tube through the mouth into the airway. I have stuck needles into people's veins and arteries with the intention of drawing fresh warm blood for tests with dubious necessity. I have cut open abscesses and stuck my finger where it really shouldn't go. In short - I'm loving it.

I have also worked some of the most demanding hours I'd ever thought about, safe in the knowledge that compared to the doctors, whom I aspire to emulate, I have it easy. The days begin early in the morning, sometimes before the sun has properly risen, they consist of running around an airless concrete box for hours on end rarely with time to sit down, drink, have a bite to eat or snatch a crafty fag. They end often after the sun has set, invariably after my preclinical colleagues are safely at home or in the bar. I have rarely been as tired, as dehydrated and as underfed as I currently seem to constantly be.

It's a struggle, as some point out, it's a right of passage.

You never know, I might actually make it.

30 September 2006

Dead Blog?

Due to a lack of a camera phone in one piece, I haven't got much to share.

I suppose that I could tell you that Freshers has finished and that it went well and that I am currently happy and hungover.

I could tell you how fascinating medical school is, but it's not and I'm hardly ever there anyway.

I could tell you how exciting the boat ball last night was, but I'm not convinced that I remember all that much of it.

Let me get back to you.

19 September 2006


Apparently we can manage to control entry. Admitedly it requires two big security blokes and a lot of shouting. It could be seen as a good thing, more punters is more profit, but sometimes i wonder if it doesn't mean more problems.

17 September 2006

13 September 2006

And so it begins...

Freshers starts here (sort of) with the GEP night in the union. It's also my first night in paid employment as a technician here, it probably would be easier to justify that wage if it were actually busy and I actually had work to do rather than supervise. At the very least it's an opportunity to make sure that everything works - which thankfully it does - and that the staff are warmed up - which they probably won't be. It's good to be back...

20 August 2006

Random job

Got a call fairly late yesterday evening to go work at a relatively famous london theatre. Wouldn't have been so much of a problem if they'd given me more than 40 minutes warning or i wasn't still in bed. I did eventually get there after wrestling with the complexities of the tube and was only slightly late. Was a fun evening in the end, saw two shows from the national youth theatre and a comedy performance and got paid for the privilige. Then we went for a drink...

17 August 2006


Work today is still the string trio and the nice cars. It's a really simple rig complicated by the fact that it's absolutely pissing down with rain in london at the moment and i've used the world's supply of bin bags trying to cover all the connections.

16 August 2006

What I Do At Work

Today, i'm being paid to listen to a string quartet and stare longingly at some of the nicest cars on the planet. There are certainly worse ways to spend a wednesday...

8 August 2006

Home Cinema

One of the benefits of living in a house of tech, with a computer scientist (the one below) a theatre tech and another techie, is having all sorts of shiny kit - like a projector - lying around.

My housemate