Wannabe Doctors Beware!

There is a well-know myth surrounding the profession of medicine. A number of myths actually, but the biggest myth of all, and the one most frequently thrown in the face of teenage wannabe doctors, is that its all about studying. You're going to be studying for the rest of your life. Its really hard, with all that studying. How are you going to maintain a social life with so much studying? etc. That the most serious thing about being a doctor is studying and passing exams and whatnot. And of course, all teenagers think they're superheroes and that a little bit of studying isn't going to be enough to make them think twice about putting on that white coat, stethoscope, cool scrubs and the Dr. before their name and MD after it. Who the hell even came up with that line anyway? I'm pretty sure it was someone who WASN'T a doctor, because any doctor in over his/her head knows for a fact that studying isn't even half the problem, not HALF of it. Stupid people.
Saving a life is a very, VERY difficult thing to accomplish. Killing someone is so much more easier. I know that now. I wish I hadn't, but I do. If you and the patient are both lucky, that patient will escape your 'care' alive and with minimum collateral damage. No matter how fly, how smart, how alert, how strong your memory is, how strong your senior backup is, the fact is that eventually you will kill someone. Ok let's not say kill because that's kind of a scary word. You will eventually lose someone. You'll miss that diagnosis of a bleed in the brain or a heart attack or a broken bone, or, oh so often, that wicked, chameleon-like theif: cancer. It won't be entirely your fault. If you hadn't picked it up then your senior should have, or the radiologist reading the CT should have, or the nurse who noticed the abnormal vital signs should have, or someone who had anything to do with it should have picked it up, but they're human just like you, and we all know that to err is human.
That's what's wrong with being a doctor. Its not the horrible working hours, its not the endless exhaustion, its not the smell of alcohol on some idiot's breath at 3 a.m., and its definitely not the piles of studying. Its the fact that you have someone's wellbeing, someone's LIFE in your hands and whatever decision you make will decide whether that person walks or dies. That's what's wrong. Who gave you the right to make that decision? Who gave you the right to order all sorts of damaging investigations and pump all sorts of useless drugs into someone's body? Who gave you the right to expose a person at his/her weakest, to see what you like and touch what you like with no one to see or stop you? Who gave you the right to deny a person a second opinion when you KNOW you're wrong? Who gave you the right to tell a person's secrets, laugh at a person's fear, show a person's shame? Who?
And who do you think you are to give yourself all that arrogant power?
There will always be an excuse: your senior backed you up, it wasn't obvious on the Xray, anyone could have missed it... it was too advanced for an early detection to make a difference. But the fact of the matter is that it DOES make a difference. When your child is sick and is turned away it makes a difference. When your parent is in pain and you are told its terminal it makes a difference. When you are faced with the loss of a loved one, every single second makes a difference. So get off your stupid high horse and admit to the fact that no, you are NOT perfect, you are NOT all-knowing, you are NOT indestructable, and YES YOU LOST THAT PATIENT. And it was your fault. And there are probably more than you can imagine. And you have to live with that for the rest of your miserable, study-full life.

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