Demola Rewaju: The sheer arrogance of (most) medical doctors

by Demola Rewaju

doctor

But have you ever noticed that doctors have the worst handwriting among professionals? You never can guess or tell what it is they are writing or scribbling – very frustrating for those of us who like to read every piece of written material. I think they write like that so they can shift the blame: “it’s Dr. Amiel who didn’t read my diagnosis properly” or something silly like that.

I’ve been out of circulation (real life and online) for close to or above one week now due to a combination of illnesses that couldn’t have come at a worse time for me than they did. Thank God for small mercies though. I tried to keep up with the demands of writing the blog even if I couldn’t do much else but those small pains all over the body can quickly hamper a straight line of thought and muddle it up. I believe strongly in the ability of a strong mind and enlightened spirit to fight through a weak body but I also know that sometimes, illnesses come with a warning: SLOW DOWN so I switched off everything and tried to recuperate which I did over the weekend but another illness was waiting just right around the corner.

I’d self medicated myself all through last week: growing up as a sickly child means I understand my body and usually know what drugs to take for most of the illnesses that ail me. With constant help from my pharmacist mum, I beat the first round that came last week until this terrible stomach upset started and refused to let go till yesterday. At that point, I had to see a doctor and it was while waiting in line at a hospital that I noticed and decided to write on the above topic.

If you ever find yourself in a hospital environment for any reason, please take a look around you at those folks wearing white overalls and walking rapidly from one place to the other. It doesn’t matter which kind of hospital you are in: specialist, dental, public or otherwise – you just can’t mistake the natural arrogance of medical doctors. Funnily, the ones who have shorter overalls (almost as short as a jacket) are still students but they tend to be more arrogant than the more established seniors. Me, I don’t like being attended to by student doctors – they ask less questions and jump to conclusions more quickly but the moment you fire off one or two statistics from the internet that let them know that you know what you are talking about, they usually calm down and start to ask for your opinion more.

Like this student doctor at LASUTH a while back. She was forming ‘Look-At-My-White-Coat-I’m-A-Doctor-Dummy’ from Day 1 and I just chilled until she had to give me an injection in my arm as I watched her closely. I noticed bubbles at the tip of the syringe which she was about to inject into my vein and I let her have it. Fear plus this desire to cut away some of that medical pride made me talk more than I should and the poor girl had to get a nurse to do it instead – I hope I didn’t ruin her career though and if she’s reading this: sorry dear, I’m ashamed of the boy I once was.

But have you ever noticed that doctors have the worst handwriting among professionals? You never can guess or tell what it is they are writing or scribbling – very frustrating for those of us who like to read every piece of written material. I think they write like that so they can shift the blame: “it’s Dr. Amiel who didn’t read my diagnosis properly” or something silly like that.

And it’s not only patients like me who think doctors are arrogant, other medical professionals think so too but they all envy doctors secretly: pharmacists and lab-technicians in hospitals wear white overalls these days to confuse us into calling them ‘Doctor…’ and they never try to correct you. Younger nurses admire older doctors but older nurses despise younger doctors: that’s a rule to remember. Complain about a student doctor to the old matron and watch how she clucks knowingly. It must be terrible for her knowing all she know about medicine but never being able to do all a doctor can do with it.

In those small villages where doctors go for medical mission sometimes, the villagers actually think they are God Himself when with just one tablet, they can cure the disease or alleviate the pain.

Let’s face it then: doctors have earned the right to be arrogant. Seven to eight years spent with little in terms of a social life (ever seen a medical student win ‘Party-Rocker Award in University?), an emotional life (most doctors marry late or marry other doctors) or any other kind of life, those guys deserve to be the arrogant souls they’ve become. I once dated a medical student for many years and watched her flunk out on medical exam, pick a degree in Physiology and Anatomy then go back to another university and got her medical credentials. She’s a doctor now and is getting married in the last weekend of November – a beautiful coincidence but I’m not her groom.

I admire doctors and all they do in caring for sick people: I could never do it even if I spent years studying for it. Thanks to the two wonderful doctors who saw me yesterday – the pain in my butt coupled with this slightly dizzy gaze is a sad reminder of that visit.

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Read this article on Demola’s Blog

 

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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