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The Docs of Hazard!

18 Nov

…Daddy I wanna be a doctor when I grow up…

Many a child has uttered that cry as he/she got an epiphany. Some buried those dreams the first time they caught sight of blood gushing from an open wound, others were never given a chance to choose a life beyond medicine and yet for majority of the doctors in Nigeria, it was a life-long dream, which involved years of sweat, toil and tears (6yrs+X for some).
Now one can write about the many benefits of being a doc, from the title to the ‘efizzy’, to the respect, to the ‘god-complex’, to the money (not in Naija), to the certain degree of immunity from the police, to the good karma that arises from helping others, to the high market-value in the dating and marriage market, to the widely open arms parents use to welcome a would-be, doctor-in-law. The list could be longer and however long it takes to achieve this status, for some, it’s to die for. But no one ever talks about the bad…

We doctors have become the ‘Dukes of Hazard’ and here are 10 awful things you should consider before sending your child to medical school…

1. Med school is tough. To even start the race, you have to have been a really brainy kid in secondary school and the work load is structured so that the frail fall by the way-side.
I know a guy who ran mad during his exams in med school. #shocking-but-true! And then there are the strikes that thankfully, have become rare but sometimes keep a kid in school for up to 10 years. There’s also the issue of accreditation which has become a nasty new trend, leaving students hanging for long periods till their schools can get their acts together and sometimes totally interrupting their studies. My friends F and I who are currently doing masters in the UK say after med school, you can basically face any academic challenge or stress that there is. For them, the workload seems a bit too light at the post-graduate level when compared to the hassle of becoming a Nigeria-trained doctor.

2. They will rebel. Many parents think a doctor in the house is a must-have and have grown tired of paying the family doctor, desiring one of their own. While this is a noble thought, forcing people to do what they don’t wanna do is akin to delaying their destinies because one day, many years after, they’ll realise what exactly it is they are supposed to do in life. My friend A started out in med school and dropped out in his second year. Today he is a seasoned DJ and radio/tv presenter studying a business course on the side and says he has finally found fulfilment. My friend T now works in an auditing firm and if she had been allowed to follow her dream from the very beginning, she could have gained 3 years and would have been on a level far above where she is today. I have countless classmates who were forced into med school by their folks and dropped out of the race with alacrity as soon as they obtained the title. According to my friend F, “Daddy here’s the title you always wanted, now can I live my life?”…

3. The risk of infection. Doctors are prone to needle-stick injuries and blood and body-fluid borne infections on the job, HIV and Hepatitis top the list. Some call it carelessness but I tell you that many of these accidents are freaks of nature and some have been both life-altering and life-threatening! A colleague of mine was pricked by a needle she had introduced into a child with HIV when the child jumped suddenly. The mother was supposed to be restraining him and was profusely sorry but sorry doesn’t cut it when you have to take HIV medication for 6 weeks. She can never take back those 6 weeks of her life that she spent sick and vomiting due to the side-effects or the constant anxiety about the probability of testing positive to HIV. Thankfully she tested negative. I also know a male doctor who tested positive to Hepatitis when he was asked to do the test by the church weeks to his wedding… 😦 so many doctors have been paid with a measure of the patient’s illness in return for their services and have learnt the hard way that even if the hospital or government doesn’t put in place measures for personal protection, it is imperative that you protect yourself!

4. Any doctor who has worked in a teaching hospital or community clinic will regale you with tales of how doctors have had to run for dear life even jumping through windows because they failed to perform magic on a badly injured patient and as a result became targets for violently angry and grieving family and friends. It happens quite frequently in teaching hospitals where mortality is the highest because they are the highest point of referral especially those located in poorer neighbourhoods…

5. There was an episode at a hospital some years ago where doctors were robbed and molested sexually at night, while on duty by a gang of hoodlums that attacked the hospital. No one knows for sure if the offenders were brought to book but the memory of the trauma lives on in those doctors’ minds…

6. Doctors are their own enemies. We don’t have a strong enough governing body and many times it is outrageous how the doctors at the top are the very ones standing in the way of progress. A while ago doctors went on strike in a teaching hospital on orders from the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) and were fired en masse by the state. Adverts were put out for new doctors and doctors flooded the institution not caring about the events that preceded the jobs becoming available nor the cause for which the other doctors tried to fight. The ARD seemed powerless but thankfully, the governor of the state granted the doctors leniency and recalled them. It was quite amazing that their sack didn’t incite a nationwide revolt. Wasn’t it a worthy cause they fought for? Every man for himself, God for us all… 😦

7. Patient wahala! Sometimes patients can be a handful and I’m not talking about the average run off the mill, disgruntled or stubborn patient. I’m talking big wahala! A female patient being managed for infertility was found to be problem free and the doctor suggested, as is routine, that she bring her husband to the clinic for tests as the fault may not have been hers. The next day an angry man with a raised voice barged into the consulting room accusing the doctor of telling his wife that he was impotent! Now you can imagine the scene that unfolded and there have been far worse scandals…

8. The residency exams. I know people who have failed those exams up to 5 times regardless of the depth of their knowledge on the subject matter all because they failed to satisfy an examiner in an exam which is highly subjective. Exams cost as much as 50k and there are update courses to pay for from our meagre salaries too. Abroad, most exams are objective so you can hardly fail because an examiner thinks you are cocky or thinks it is your right to taste failure in this lifetime!

9. We do not work for the devil! Some patients treat us no better than the devil but in their defence, it should be expected since we constantly deliver bad news. I have grown weary of patients giving testimonies in church that start with; “The doctors said I had…..but my God put them to shame…..”
It is not doctors versus God!!! We also offer hope and look after you, remember? We care but God heals!- Our mantra 😉

10. It has been said that doctors dress horribly and have terrible cars. The salary doesn’t help matters and sometimes a doctor has to do ‘locum’ (part-time job) apart from his main job to keep body and soul together. In other countries, doctors are amongst the highest paid but every time we rise up in protest, the people angrily tell us we earn enough already and should be content as our job is ‘humanitarian’. Humanitarian my foot! I know an elderly doctor who had to beg for 5,000 naira to feed his family because salaries had not been paid. With the above-listed hazards, should this ever occur? He had given almost his entire life to the people, I think it’s time the people gave back!

Most doctors after realising what they signed up for, look for the easiest way out. They try to leave the country but alas, a doctor trained in Nigeria is not readily hired in other countries despite his experience or skill till he has passed myriads of hurdles, exams inclusive and many have returned, after losing years abroad because they were unable to find suitable work.

So peeps, carefully consider these before you decide the life of a doctor is the life for you. I won’t even mention our crazy 24-hour work schedule or how our families suffer as a result because that would be complaining and we knew this was part of the package when we signed up and besides despite everything, I love being a doctor and wouldn’t pick any other life…

Today before you shout at your doctor or act rudely, remember this and realize that we are under-appreciated and a smile and a thank you from you, not to mention your co-operation would go a long way to help us serve you better…

‘Be careful how you treat me because I may be your doctor one day!’ 😉 😉 😉

Have a great weekend peeps, T.G.I.F (though I’m working tomorrow!)….xoxoxo 🙂 🙂

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11 Comments

Posted by on November 18, 2011 in Hall of Fame, Health, Inspirational

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

11 responses to “The Docs of Hazard!

  1. danfohoppingchick

    November 18, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    hehehe….I think T works in a financial advisory firm though!

    Great piece! Big up to Dokkies like we!!!

     
    • Neetah

      November 18, 2011 at 3:23 pm

      And there I was thinking if I changed her job a bit you wouldn’t know who she was!!! Thanks doc… 😉

       
  2. Obus

    November 18, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    hehe lol at market value when it comes to marriage and the welcome you recieve. Not always true i must add. Nice one as usual.

     
  3. Mariam Tee

    November 18, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    Thumbs up doc!!!!! Medicine can really really be suffer head oo. Nice blog; D̶̲̥̅̊Ơ̴̴̴̴̴̴͡ keep it up.

     
  4. Dr Sankty

    November 18, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    omo men, i this post, tru talk, ppl dont kno d half, they dont kno d pain bhind the glam, they dont kno that life is one big facade, the most shiny things have the most pain and suffering behind it…mschewww..

     
  5. Moji Sanusi

    November 18, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    so true my dear! dat HIV one is a strong thing o

     
  6. HoneyDame

    November 19, 2011 at 6:55 am

    I knew I made the right choice by not even thinking medicine in the first place. All these are enough to overwhelm me!
    Lord knows that I try to give my doctors their props as at when due!

     
  7. ladi omoyiola

    November 19, 2011 at 8:27 am

    Who told U̶̲̥̅̊ doctors have a higher market value than other professions ???…….I doubt that…….nice blogg……cheers

     
  8. keiskwerd

    November 22, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    Lol @ no7!

     
  9. ace

    November 23, 2011 at 11:53 am

    Cool! Very enlightening. I suggest you forward this piece to all the major newspapers, with som tweaking here and there of course. I think evrybody needs to read this.

     
  10. Ade

    November 24, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    I remember back in school a Dr attended to an elderly who wasn’t cover by the NHIS and he died. She began to panic when invited to face a panel.

     

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