Residential Space A creative outlet during residency, turned ongoing virtual soap box

Posted on Sunday, November 26th, 2006 at 9:55 pm. About Ramblings.

Thankless Jobs

I saw this article today, and while I acknowledge that these shootings by police may well have been a tragedy due to misunderstanding, I started searching archives for positive police articles versus negative. By far, police get more negative coverage than positive. I really feel for police officers, because coverage of their work is usually so negative, when most of the time police make huge sacrifices to provide society an invaluable service. As a physician, I often feel that doctors are treated the same way – we get coverage about mistakes made, malpractice cases, etc. Law & Order episodes always feature the malicious plastic surgeon operating on women who look fine, and then they die under the knife.

Recently, the mother of a child for whom I was caring yelled at me in the Emergency Room. Nevermind the fact that I had driven in during the night to evaluate her child, and that I had spent an amazing amount of time doing a thorough exam, explaining everything to the family as I worked, and carefully discussed my findings with them afterwards. She screamed at me, told me I was giving her “the run around,” and said to “get the hell out of [her] face,” which I did. She then proceeded to yell at a pediatrics resident and threaten to sue her if she didn’t do an MRI that was unnecessary. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I thought physicians went through medical school and residency so that we could make educated decisions in caring for patients. Heck, I guess now anyone who wants a $1500 test can just threaten the right people and have it done, despite the fact that she is not paying for it. No one needs a medical license to practice healthcare anymore, right?

I feel that physicians make significant sacrifices in order to care for other people – and in residency, the meager stipend we’re paid practically makes it altruism. To be treated like this angers me – it can be such a thankless job. I really wish I had known I would have to endure this so frequently when I first decided to go to medical school.

While I acknowledge that my sacrifices have not been as huge as those made by police officers, as their job risk is much higher than mine, I can empathize with the decent police officers who strive to make the world a better place, but are still painted in a negative light and treated horribly by the very people they are trying to help.

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