Thursday, October 29, 2015


More than 20 years later, and I still hate Brad.

Brad was the chief resident when I did my 3rd year medical school surgery rotation.

And he was a prick.

The rivalry between surgeons and non-surgeons (cutters vs. thinkers) goes back to the dawn of medicine. Generally it's a source of good-natured joking. After all, we really complement each other more than compete. Patients will generally need both of us, and the goal is to do what's best for them.

Not to Brad.

When I met him, Brad was in the last few months of his year as chief surgical resident, and had already been accepted to a vascular surgery fellowship. Medical students, to him, were the scum of the Earth. Long removed from being one, he made no secret of his distaste for us.

By the end of the 3rd year of medical school most doclings have some idea of what they want to do. My interest in neurology was no secret, and I didn't hide it.

The other 4 med students on my rotation were smarter than me. Terrified of Brad, they all claimed to be interested in surgery even though none of them were. Vijay was planning on radiology, Michelle pediatrics, John dermatology, and Amy pulmonology. But I was the only one who freely admitted to having no interest in surgery.

Brad drove all of us hard, but treated me with particular disgust. I had to be the first one there in the morning (he considered 4:30 a.m. to be late) and made sure I wasn't done with anything until the other 4 had left. He'd give me extra work to ensure I couldn't leave. When the other 4 were told to go get lunch, Brad would ask the nurses to find something for me to do so I couldn't go.

Everyday he'd tell me (and have me repeat back) the mantra he believed: "If you're not a surgeon, then you're not a doctor. And if you're not a vascular surgeon, then you're not a surgeon." He made sure I knew how little he thought of neurologists, non-surgeons in general, and medical students. Since I was all 3...

I remember one night in spring, during that annual rite of American lunacy, March Madness. Back then I was a rabid basketball fan, and Angie and I had set-up the med student coverage schedule weeks in advance so I could watch the championship game (I don't remember who it was that year). She had no interest in it, so took call that night.

Late that afternoon, as we were getting ready for check-out, Brad pulled Angie aside and told her he'd decided that I needed to be on-call that night in case there were any surgeries (realistically, you don't need ANY med student there for surgery. We get in the way). Angie didn't have a choice, and wasn't in any more position to protest than I was.

Brad told me he wanted me to wait, in scrubs, in the surgery holding room... just in case I was needed. There was no TV in there. Brad sat across the hall with another resident, in the surgeon's lounge, watching the game and cheering.

Occasionally he'd walk over to make sure I was still there, and even told the nurse watching the one post-op patient to page him immediately if I went anywhere except the station's bathroom.

As soon as the game ended, Brad came over to dismiss me and said "well, I guess we didn't need you tonight. Too bad you had to miss the game, it was a good one."

On my evaluation, Brad gave me a low pass and wrote "lazy, incompetent, socially retarded, uncaring, unmotivated, and the poorest quality house officer material I've ever been suffered to put up with."

Brad, you probably don't remember me, but I'll never forget you. I googled you last night. Looks like you've lost some hair and shaved the mustache, but your smirking asshat smile is still the same one I remember from 25 years ago.

I'm sure I wasn't the only one you treated like that, and you probably haven't changed much. I doubt you read this, either, since something written by a non-physician, like a neurologist, is beneath your contempt.

But, on the off-chance you are... Fuck you.


Moose said...

Don't worry, Doc. Karma eats people like this alive.

You really need to get rid of the hate. It's not healthy to carry around such bad feelings over a long time. It can subtly add stress to your life. Why, I can't think of anyone I still hate after that much time oh wait yes I can.

Never mind.

Anonymous said...

Sorry he put you thru such unnecessary bullshit. What a miserable son of a bitch he must be. All his students eventually moved on, but he's stuck with himself forever.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you should consider that you were the problem, and got everything you deserved.

Anonymous said...

Let me guess.

Brad is anon at 8:54.

At any rate, people who behave like this typically have low self-esteem and can only build themselves up by breaking down others.

And yes, he may have been a dick and a bully. But he has to live with that hatred of himself for the rest of his life. Pity him from afar, for that is the true contempt he deserves.

Anonymous said...

I don't think I could have put up with it. You must have the patience of a Saint. If this was me, I would have wanted to find a "higher-up" and tattle or stomp my feet, or both. Upon leaving, I might have wanted to do something really terrible to him as a little good bye present. Then I think I could have let-it-go.


Anonymous said...

We have all experienced Brad at some point in time - living well is the best revenge.

Pharm. Tech. RDC '06

Anonymous said...

Grrrr. I am a surgery resident and this makes me so mad. Jerks like him are a detriment to the medical profession. And if there is anyone that I want to have a great time on the surgery service, it is someone not entering surgery! (Future surgeons will 'like' their surgery rotation regardless, because they have to; but the already decided non-surgeons should be able to enjoy the rotation in order to get the most out of it.) You should absolutely publish "Brad's" full name or current place of employment. Name and shame. Or maybe a picture. An anonymous, defaced picture...

Pam M. said...

You can still slash his tires.

Candice said...

Sounds like Brad needs a flaming bag of dog shit on his doorstep.

stacey said...

I hope you feel better now. A well placed epithet and a good FU work wonders.

HeroHog said...

Limburger cheese on an exhaust manifold and/or crawfish/sardines run through a blender and poured down those vents at the base of the windshield (where the A/C get's fresh air from) on a hot summer's day.

You're welcome.

Anonymous said...


say no more.

bobbie said...

Hero Hog ~ I love the way your wicked mind works!

Doc G ~ maybe a few rounds with a punching bag (with his picture on it) would help.
May repeat p.r.n.

Anonymous said...

If you go with the Limburger, one slice on a COLD manifold is sufficient. I know someone who put a full brick on a hot manifold, and it stunk out the whole department building.

I agree, we all have a "Brad" or two in our past. Like the bitch who made me learn phlebotomy left handed because tendon damage in my wrist made it physically impossible to hold a syringe "her way" with my dominant hand. Fuck you, Jolynn.

Ms. Donna said...

"cutters vs thinkers" Seems that there is some prejudice on both sides.


Renee said...

Doc, watch this, you won't be disappointed. Guided meditation for those tense moments.

Anonymous said...

If I ever found out that a resident abused one of my medical students like Brad abused you I would be on them like flies on shit! They would need a surgeon to extricate my foot that would be firmly lodged up the offending resident's ass. I know when we were in school 20-something years ago, such abuse was tolerated; but those days have past.

By the way, I hoped your blogging this memory helped you heal a little. Rock on you crazy yak herder!

Hildy said...

Brad was defensive about surgery because he HAD to go into it. After all, he needed to make a lot of money because every service worker he would ever need for the rest of his life was going to triple charge (if not sabotage) him, and the only patients that would put up with him had to be unconscious when he worked.

Packer said...

The estimable process which turns out professionals is sometimes quite similar to the making of sausage. Take a lot of good meat and grind it up, add some spice and filler and hope that a palatable result is achieved.

And I thought that only the Paper Chase produced assholes. Grumpy think back to all those persons who never got to the end and quit before finishing. I often do think of my fellow students who started on day one, 50 were gone by day 60, capacity for abuse does have its reward.

Brent said...

A good parting comment could have been

"Farewell Brad, I will soon no longer be a medical student, but you will always be a asshole."

Anonymous said...

I trained in the same era, so have some similar stories, but for the most part, housestaff were worked to death also, and most were decent sorts. Only one that I really disliked was a medicine intern who was so insecure about things that he ordered lab on every patient every day, even the poor old man who had been there a month just to debride his chronic decub. And of course the med student (me) came in at 4:30 AM to draw it. Got good a femoral sticks once the veins were shot.

Anonymous said...

Some decades ago, I was a veterinary surgeon. I was often told I was extremely good at soft tissue surgery, and as an expert knitter, skilled seamstress and competent embroiderer, I'll tell you this, Doctor Grumpy: If surgery was traditionally a woman's role rather than a man's, it would be considered a handcraft rather than an art, and one of the easiest handcrafts at that.
P.S. I got singled-out and bullied by a resident too.

Anonymous said...

When my oldest daughter (now an adult) was in 2nd grade, two girls started bullying her. They were the 'popular' girls and told the other kids that if any of them played with her they couldn't play with them. It was hell for two years. Calls to parents did no good and the teachers even tried to help but to no avail. We eventually ended up in counseling because of it. It didn't stop until we moved to another town and school. She is now a wife, mother, teacher and is very happy. If i saw either of those two girls crossing the street, I would run over them. So I kind of know where you're coming from Dr. Grumpy.

gloriap said...

Surgeons can't imagine dealing with any problem that can't be excised. Be thankful you're not one of them. You wouldn't have nearly as much fun writing about incisions as you do about your wacko patients.

Candi said...

Think up a fiction story.

Base the bad guy on Brad.

Torture him however you want. Helps if it's all his own fault, and was completely avoidable if he wasn't such a jerk.

Let the good guys crow when he's finally defeated.

It's very cathartic.

Or you can buy Sims 2 or 3 (4 is a money grabber with minimal content). Make a character based on him, use save points abundantly, and go to town. The testingcheatsenabled codes or the SimPE program really help liven things up.

And both are so, so legal, as long as you keep it fictional.

Brad said...

As a "Brad", I apologize on behalf of all of the rest of us.

Reminds me of my boss Paul at my first real job, many years ago. Paul used to order me into his office, and recount long stories out of his wonderful life. He would digress, wander off of that track, then think of yet something else he wanted to say, and on, and on, and on...usually for two or three hours at a time.

God forbid I should show anything but rapt, admiring attention; a yawn was really fatal. The only way I could stay awake was to count how many levels deep his digressions went; I think the record was seven. The amazing thing was that he always unwound, eventually coming back and finishing his original story.

This went on for three long years. I managed to do good work despite all the time lost to his pathetic ego. That must have angered him, because he tried to give me a really lousy rating when I left. That was a mistake: By then I was known for being good at what I did. Upper management fixed my rating and Paul was never allowed to supervise anyone again.

A few years ago, I looked him up, found out he had died, and noted where the cemetery is. I basically never hold grudges, but for him I do make an exception. If I am ever in the neighborhood, that is one grave I would piss on.

Anonymous said...

Brad is a tool. No doubt this smirking p.o.s. has an infection rate from Hades. I'm a nurse and I've little use for smug jerk-off surgeons. "Asshat" is far too kind.

Anonymous said...

gloria- really? a surgeon.

Mrs J said...

That's exactly what I was thinking, lol.

Susan Claire said...

There has been a Brad in every single place I have ever worked. Seems to me that once someone gets a little power behind them they channel their inner Hitler. I remember one of these guys came back to my workplace after learning he was dying, guess he wanted to make amends. I wasn't having any of that, thank you very much. Not often you get to see Karma at work!

RehabRN said...


As a product of Catholic schools, I personally believe in divine recompense. Brad will get what's coming to him.

Meanwhile, if he inspires you to excel in your kickboxing class as you visualize his smirk getting smashed on your bag, the more the better.

I feel exactly the same about the Slug at my workplace.

Shash said...

My Brad was named Tom. Tom, the program director, expected you to pat him on the back for everything he said and did. Tom, did not like that I knew his game; besides, I was only a temp.

On Christmas Eve, everyone was let go early except me. This was due to his second letting me leave early with everyone else at Thanksgiving and then authorizing that I be paid for the hours missed. So, from 2-5 pm, I sat alone in our divisional office, knowing full well that the only call I would get would be Tom at 4:55 p.m. I did all the work I could find and then picked up the novel I brought for lunch breaks and began to read.

The phone finally rang at 4:50 p.m. I picked it up and gave the authorized answer, waited 1 full second and said "Merry Christmas Tom" as the person hung up. He wouldn't look at me for a couple of weeks after that. Neither one of us acknowledged the call. I'm sure he was very glad to see the end of my tenure there.

Anonymous said...

I was thinking the very same thing the other day. I hope it makes you feel better in a way, to commit this paragraph in history to paper (the pixels of the internet).

My much younger sister was recalling memories from grade school and mentioned that she used to check out a particular child thriller every few weeks (this was 70s so it was really tame, minimal details to allow ones active imagination to fill in the screams), and, surprised, I told her that that she must've finally wore out the book because I used to check it out every few weeks, also, 6-7 years before her.)

I told her that I 'survived' a 7-year stint at workplace by imagining the director and the supervisor as the two evil villains in the piece. And, boy the combination of those two were a piece of work.

As a female in a mostly female department, we were picked on in ways that only women can be bullied. Males got a free pass.

Finally, I overheard the supervisor directly insulting a co-worker to her face and had quite enough. As I was passing her in the hallway, I told the one with more workplace power, "You and I are both the oldest of large families, and we know what it is like to 'be in charge' and how we can get away with shenanigans. What you're doing is not right, and the next time I hear that sort of thing, I'm going to pinch you in a place where it'll take some explaining."

I'd like to think that it solved some degree of the problem, but the effect on my co-worker was lasting. And, perhaps, some kinds of people understand when a person is at a low ebb in self-respect and like to knock them lower. It's hard to say for me as I've never considered myself a dues-paying member of any group of ol' boys, despite one of the old-timers.

Bink said...

Rotten people are always rotten because of an inadequacy. The childish part of me wants to say its because he had a tiny wang and repelled women (both independently) but it's definitely because of some need to prove that he isn't the loser he knows he is. (Guess what Brad - whatever happened to make you feel so insecure means you should understand people's humanity and be a hell of a lot nicer than an average person without so many adversities. Guess you're a bit dense to realise that. Sucks to be you).

Grumpy - a wise lady told me, after you extract your imaginary elbow from their imaginary teeth (or you know, whatever mental fantasy of what you'd like to do to them) - pity them. You get to wake up you. They get to wake up and see *them* in the mirror - and you don't have to!

Quill2006 said...

This article seems apropos.

stacey said...

Remind me again why people with those personalities go into medicine? It's not because they care about people, obviously. I could tolerate "aloofness" or a lack of personality, from a surgeon, in exchange for talented hands/good surgical skills, but that's a downright dangerous person. Those are the surgeons that everyone avoids working with because they throw things in the OR, have meltdowns and verbally berate every member on the team. The person that doesn't think they need anyone else in the room.

Anonymous said...

My "Brad" was an equine surgeon in vet school. I was a small-animal track 4th year student with *zero* interest in horses or equine surgery, he was a Tenured Professor and Surgeon. If you were a student you were automatically dung, but if you were a student that wasn't interested in horses you were lower than dung.

I saw Dr. Brad knock down one of my classmates in the hallway -- inadvertently I think --. Instead of apologizing and helping her up, he looked at her, said "I've knocked down more important people than you." and walked off. And me? If he deigned to speak to me on any given day it was only to tell me how little dogs and cats mattered in the Grand Scheme of Things and how anyone that wasn't going into surgery was just wasting their lives.

My only real defense was being allergic to horses. I was constantly up to my eyeballs in antihistamines and inhalers and I left a trail of tissues wherever I went, and he could *not* protest (he'd tried with previous allergic students). He also was forced, FORCED I say, to give us three days off of our rotation because I was on rotation during the month when our national board exams were being held. I'm one of the few people I know who can say that they actively enjoyed their national board exams. Mostly because I could picture the language and tooth grinding that was happening on his end while we were taking the test.

21 years later and I'm a competent, happy, and successful doctor. Dr. "Brad" has declined into an obscurity punctuated by crabs and a _scorching_ case of hemorrhoids.
(I don't know that for sure, but isn't it a pleasant fantasy?)

Spook, RN said...

"The best revenge is to be unlike the person who caused the injury" - Marcus Aurelius.

You do your Dharma, Dr. Grumpy, "Brad" will beget his Karma.
Sorry you had to suffer him though.

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