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Memoirs of an Abused General Surgery Medical Student, Part III

September 10, 2006

kr’s note: hmm, there is no note for this post.

On to the stories…

Towards the end of the rotation, I did a week on the trauma service. Normally, students enjoy this week the most because it’s a lot more glamorous and exciting than general surgery, which tends to get boring after a while. Unfortunately for me, I got stuck on a trauma team with a chief resident who thought he was so macho that he would grunt when you’d say hello to him… a few days earlier, one of the other medical students made a mistake, a simple error in copying the glucose levels of one patient in the chart of another patient… since the levels were elevated, the surgical staff almost ordered insulin (to bring the sugar levels down) for the patient–and insulin for a patient that doesn’t need it could potentially kill the patient. Ok, fine, the student made a mistake, but thankfully it was caught on time (since residents cross-check all student work anyway) so it really wasn’t a big deal… except this guy spazzed and went postal, making the student cry and whatnot… by the time I got onto the team, he was ticked off at all medical students in general. Needless to say, I got scutted out to do paperwork all day and really didn’t get to see any cases. Nonetheless, I had three short yet interesting stories:

The chauvinist of the year: This story involves an African American male who was admitted to the trauma floor, recovering from… you guessed it, a gunshot wound. His recovery was coming along nicely, but he kept complaining of pain and was always in a sour mood. He would always boss the doctors/residents/medical students around, giving us condescending nicknames and just being an overall jerk. This was nothing compared to the way he spoke to the nurses, referring to them always as “bit**”… it would always be, “bit** get me some water”, “bit** I want another pillow”, etc. Finally, one of the nurses had enough, and she spoke to him politely and sternly, “Sir, it’s not polite and proper to speak to us nurses like that. If you need something, we’ll be happy to get it for you, but address us as “nurse” please.” So he looks at her and replies, “Bit**, you’re lucky you’re not my wife, or else I would have beaten you for talking to me like that.”

My first encounter with a real life pimp: On evening rounds one day, I walked into a room with my intern to see a patient who was recovering from… you guessed it, a gunshot wound. There were four women inside, and after we checked up on him, the patient introduces us to the four women. He proudly told us that the first was his wife, the second was his girlfriend, the third was his mistress, and the fourth one, in his words, “… she makes money for me and I take care of her.” I mean, the women were quite reprehensible and so was this guy, but it boggled my mind at how he introduced them and they didn’t say anything–in fact, they were quite proud of being in that kind of relationship. Subhanallah, the hadith about a man being in charge of fifty women being a sign of the Day of Judgment echoed in my mind as I shook my head and left the room.

My hypocritical intern: The trauma shift was different from general surgery since every third day was a 24-hr shift. I was on one of these 24 hr shifts, and it was around 12:30 am, and we were sitting around in the ER… nothing was going on, so everyone was just sitting around and talking. The trauma residents and ER residents were joking around, and since I was the only student there, no one wanted to talk to me, so I started to doze off. My intern looks over to me, sees me dozing, and proceeds to lecture me about how we don’t sleep on trauma. He emphatically told me that trauma call is not like general surgery night call wherein you finish off all your work and try to sleep for a few hours–trauma, he said, was hardcore, and you had to go strong for all 24 hours. He gave me a good 5 minute grilling, and so I felt juiced up, ready to go. I told him that I’m wide awake now and ready for whatever happened to come through that night. I went off to go see if anything else needed to be done. Around 2:30 am, I started to wonder where my intern was since I couldn’t find him. He wasn’t in the ER, and he wasn’t replying to any of my pages. I hadn’t prayed Isha yet, so I figured I could sneak off for 10 minutes to the call room to pray and come back. Imagine my surprise when I get there and see him sleeping like a baby, snoring away on the bottom bunk without a care in the world. I didn’t say anything, I prayed my Isha and went to sleep on the top bunk. We woke up at 5:30 am, and he was shocked to see me in the room sleeping as well. In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have said anything, a simple look would have sufficed… but you know me, I’m Kamran “frickin'” Riaz, I had to call this guy out, so I smugly said to him, “So… you don’t sleep on trauma, huh?” He didn’t say anything, but the look of disgust in his face was solace enough for me.

He gave me hell for the rest of the week, though. So he probably won the war, but when you’re on the lowest rung of the ladder, any victory, no matter how small, is a grand accomplishment indeed.


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  1. Baby squirrel…now didn’t the brutality of general surgery make you strong…Pray for me, I’m taking maternal-fetal-medicine at UIC next week…lots of estrogen and uteruses and crazy people…and then this is the month before step 2. I’m trying to get all the ob-gyn love out of my system…I’m such a silly squirrel…I want to read what you’re reading…

  2. your stories get more and more strange…
    i dont think i’d be able to resist being ‘smug’ either haha..

  3. hahah silly chauvinist

  4. 🙂 i’m with ilmaddict … you met fascinating ppl during that rotation…

  5. wow! maaaaaaaaan! both in one sentence. Tobahastakfirullah in the next. and SHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEz-elle in the third. etc etc etc. Loss for words. Jaws drop.  

  6. I wonder if Rehan will complain this much after his Surgery Rotation…..There is a eProp famine going on your xanga!

  7. Loved the last line of the post…..

  8. chauvisinist story was hilarious. is the intern a doctor?

  9. Hang in there, man.

  10. He made the student cry? Was it a female student? That’s so mean…

  11. These stories need to be published in an anothology.Can’t wait for parts IV,V, and VI.

  12. lol, classic KR with the intern, never backing down… even when it will land him in more trouble down the road.
    And for the women with the pimp: wow, talk about self-esteem issues

  13. ya know, you are pretty good at telling stories, well memoirs.  keep ’em coming yaar.  btw, i love the title, haha.

  14. the first post i’ve read in its entirety.

  15. lesson of the day: if you try act to act like Kamran “frickin” Riaz, you end up Kamran “frickin” Screwed. =)

  16. The problem is that you provide may be worth our time and also effort. breaking news

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