May 16, 2007
Specialists and their quirks. Why they do the things they do *grins*
Anaesthetist – He who numbs your pain
Gets to walk around in scrubs (surgery theatre attire) all day. Spends most of the time sitting in front of multiple monitors keeping track of the patient’s vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen saturation, etc.) during surgeries, after putting the patient to sleep and making sure they wake up promptly after to pay their taxes of course. Often on first name basis with the surgeons, the anaesthetist is the number one when it comes to resuscitation skills (surgeons are occupied so someone has to jump on the patient to perform CPR) and the delicate art of IV cannulation. They are often summoned as some form of divine intervention when no one in the wards has been successful in securing an IV line in a patient.
Anaesthetist’s most common nightmare: Having the patient waving at him in the middle of surgery.
Emergency Medicine Physician – He who befriends you during a heart attack
Business-like. Straight to the point and no room for beating around the bush. Possessing the best nerves (and maybe bladder and bowels) in the medical business, the emergency medicine physician is someone you don’t wanna see so often – for good reasons. Highly authoritative, they often have low tolerance for incompetence and can’t stand anything in slow motion. This guy manouvres around the jungle of tubes and cables suspended around the cubicle with the ease and fluidity of a figure skater. Often the tallest person in the team (genetic predisposition for this job), his eyes hawks over every single minute detail in the midst of all the chaos. In general terms, everything is alright till he panics.
Dress code: Anything airy and flexible to allow maximum range of movement. Skin-tight pants are a strict no-no considering the fast-paced nature of this job. No one would appreciate you scooting off to patch your pants when the patient’s gaping wound needs to be patched.
Neurologist – Probably the only person you can be 100% sure that it is your brains he is after.
The often skinny bespectacled physicians. They know what’s going on in your head better than you do, and you know it. Probably the most entertaining physical examiners voted by the patients, these guys are often seen getting the patient to perform a colourful variety of tests. No movements left undone, no area left un-pricked, no reflexes left un-tapped. Often seen dual-wielding a tendon hammer ( a circular piece of rubber attached to a long plastic/metal stalk to test reflexes) and a long metal pin (to test sensation). I thought instead of running through the extensive neurology testing on each patient, why not get them to do the salsa? I’m pretty sure every single nerve would be tested by the end of the routine. But of course, if salsa is possible to begin with then hospitalisation is hardly ever needed anyway.
Pet peeve: When their patient turns out to be a psychiatric patient. So near yet so far.
Obstetrician + Gynaecologist – He who knows all about menstrual problems + He who introduces you to the lil’ cutie who’s soon at the receiving end of your life savings.
The women’s best friend without a doubt. All-knowing and ever so wise on the baffling mysteries of the menstrual cycle, these doctors also double as the agony aunts. Their job sometimes entails in extensive idle banter with their female patients; from the variety of different menstrual cramps to what to cook for dinner. In the position of honour to introduce the patient to their offspring, they are often showered by thank-you cards and baskets of goodies in appreciation for their services in caring for their bundles of joy.
Most common anxiety-provoking task: Diagnosing a patient with menopause when she’s in denial.
Gastroenterologists – He who has an interest in what you put in and what you give out unlike any other
Often a fairly chubby bunch of doctors, these guys have an unbelievable interest in all things that an average person would deem as a bit excessive – from the colour of your puke to the consistency of your stools. I think they are the only bunch of people you would ever come across in your life who have a keen interest in the number of burps and farts you manage per day. The physical examination includes all manner of probing and poking at the abdomen; anything from tapping for masses to jiggling for fluid. In the event needed for a more conclusive form of testing, these guys would utilise fibre-optic technology and would not hesitate to train a tube down the patient’s throat (gastroscope) or up their arse (colonoscope) for a better look.
Colour of the day: Different shades of brown
Paediatrician – the kiddy doctor, for more than one reason.
The easiest doctor to spot from a mile away. Cartoonish ties and stethescopes lined with tiny soft toys from Speedy Gonzales to Kermit the Frog, these doctors are the clowns and jesters of the medical field. Armed with a good sense of humour and an exceptionally phenomenal tolerance for all kinds of kiddy tantrums, this is the only job where amusing and playing with the patient is mandatory. Almost a magician in nature, these guys store mini toys of all sorts down their pants pockets which they often whip out in a flash to temporarily transfix the kid so the doctor could have a listen at their chest. The paediatrician is the only kind of doctor whom possesses the privilege of speaking in a squeaky Bugs Bunny-like voice during consultations without being thought as having a screw loose.
Most common time-wasters of their job: When the kid refuses to give your stethescope back. And your mobile phone. And your car keys.
Psychiatrist – He who earns a living by listening to everything you have to say. Everything.
The shrink. Armed with a penetrating gaze, no aspect of your life escapes him. He won’t allow it. Everything that you have done, thought, mentioned, and felt, should be known to him. Good listening skills is a top criteria in securing a position in this training. Possesses the uncanny ability to keep a straight face regardless of how extraordinary the patient’s state of mind is, for example when the patient reports of having a poker game with Chow Yun-Fatt just last night while Al Pacino bakes muffins in his kitchen. Partly due to the doctor’s professionalism but also for the doctor’s own safety, this is one field of medicine where a good sense of humour may not be appreciated.
Dress code: Psychiatrists are usually the most casually dressed amongst the doctors. Makes it much easier for the doctor to go from a sitting position to an immediate sprint; either running after the patient or away from the patient.