Friday, February 13, 2009

Things They Don't Teach You In Medical School

One of my afternoon patients today had this humongous booger hanging out of his right nostril, and as he talked, inhaling and exhaling, it kept blowing in and out of his nose. It was like watching a flag wave on a windy day.

It was pretty hard to maintain eye contact, or even pay attention to his story about his back pain, while watching this thing go. It was like trying not to look while driving by a car wreck.

How come they don't teach you how to handle situations like this in medical school?


Anonymous said...

Wouldn't common sense have prompted you to offer the patient a kleenex? Then again, common sense is not taught in medical school. In fact, medical school is four years of brainwashing young, bright, independent thinkers into mindless, fact memorizing/regurgitating zombies who are forced to believe they know far less than their attendings.

Grumpy, M.D. said...

Thanks, James. I agree with you, it was inconsiderate of me not to have offered him a kleenex, though I do have a box on my desk in plain sight.

I agree with your point on medical school, too. Anyone with a good memory can graduate medical school. Not all of them will be good doctors.

Anonymous said...

You probably finished medical school before they forced us to take USMLE Step 2 CS (Clinical Skills). I love how you can make a totally useless test, charge an outrageous amount of money for people to take it, and then make it required for everyone to take it.

But I digress. I had a Step 2 CS case where my mock patient was coughing her lungs out during the entire H&P. In my mind, I'm thinking, I need to get out of here before I get TB. So as I'm hurrying out, I finally realize that she wants me to offer her a kleenex and cup of water. Luckily, I figured it out before the door closed because I kind of shouted to her as the session ended to help herself to a cup of water and a kleenex. I'm pretty sure that saved me from failing.

Great blog, by the way. I love ranting on occasion, as you probably can see.

Special Sauce said...

Oh dear- I had an 8th grade science teacher who, if I recall correctly, had the reputation for also eating eighth graders whole. I had to consult him after class one day and he too had the giant booger flag flying. It took every ounce of eighth grade courage I had not to run away laughing like a loon.

Love the blog!

Christine Nectaine said...

Glad I studied social work - they spend considerable time preparing you for this stuff - for example, how to maintain your composure while working with people with bad hygene. I would never survive some of my very smelly clients if no one had warned me!

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