Monday, 2 August 2010

Careful now!

My parents are doctors, though I've never inquired about their death rates. One thing I have learned, however, is that T S Eliot was wrong. 

April is not the cruellest month: August is (or July in the US). Specifically, Death Week, which starts on Wednesday. Why? Because that's when all the new junior doctors start work, fresh from university/the beach/the pub. 

They know most of the theory (though medical degrees aren't classified, as far as I know, so you don't know whether your doctor passed the exam on your ailment, or scraped a Third or gained a glorious First) but haven't had that much practise on complicated, sick people. And they're tired, dog-tired, from the massive shifts and short naps snatched in knackered armchairs. They don't know anyone and have no idea where everything is, and there's a culture of contempt: quite a lot of senior doctors, surgeons and nurses subscribe to the trail by fire concept and like to see the new bugs struggle - my old mum has some shocking stories about her first year or so.

Mind how you go…

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