Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Internship Blues . . . . . .

The modified version of the otherwise well known 'Food Chain'

(This latest blog of mine is dedicated to the numerous medical interns all over the country who at this moment in time are ghisaoing themseleves off doing mundane , useless , purposeless tasks ; or probably running some errand for someone higher up the hierarchy ; all in the name of learning something during this chaotic journey called internship.
So , incase you aren't or have'nt been an intern , chances are that you would'nt be able to appreciate the below expressed frustration.
And in a very clichédly and also very irritatingly schoolboyish way , let me begin with the dictionary meanings since doing monotonous manual labour during my internship has suffocated and killed all the creativity in me ; and I can't do any better than this.)

intern :
n. A physician who has recently graduated from medical school and is learning medical practice in a hospital under supervision, prior to beginning a residency program.
Usage :
'intern' as in , "Dr. John is training as an intern at the Irvine School of Medicine in California ."

also , Indian version

intern :
n. 1.poor innocent individual starting out with a whole set of impossible goals and naive ambitions that end up crushed under the path of some self-righteous bitch/bastard that is dissatisfied with his/her own life and for getting a ass as his/her superior and taking it out on cute young girls / sincere guys who might actually make something of their lives and live their dreams.

2. Free servants in the workplace.
'intern' as in: "Abbe Intern , sun na , go to the third floor , get me the brown file ; then go to the radiology dept , give it to the resident doctor there ; collect the reports of the urine samples you sent in the morning from the seventh floor ; come back here and don't you dare leave this place until I tell you to do so.You got that ?!?"

Note : Article 4 of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948 by the UN General Assembly, explicitly banned slavery.

Im currently at the fag end of my internship.And Im tired , irritated , frustrated and annoyed with the system.

Fact no. 1 :
The intern is on the lowest step in the food chain. Not only can he be eaten up by the one on the step above him , but by anyone and everyone above him in the food chain ; and even those remotely unconnected to the food chain ! (see the photo diagram attached above )

Fact no. 2 :

An Intern may may lose his/her name for the duration of his/her posting . He/She will be referred to simply as 'INTERN' , or usually ' INTERN !!!!' or 'AYE INTERN!!'

Fact no. 3:

An intern's job is only blood collections.

Corollary : Blood collections are exclusively an intern's job.

Let me explain :

In the morning , the intern must complete his mandatory round of pricking every patient and drawing blood. However , if , at any other time during the day , should a need for more blood collections arise , 1 collection or 25 of them , no houseman will ever do that.

Even if a syringe+needle and a spirit swab is given to him, the lousy oaf would rather run about for hours looking for the intern and ask him to do it , he will keep 'missed calling' the intern continuously untill the intern finally calls back or he will give it a miss alltogether and then jhap the intern the next day , rather than do the collection and finish it off in a couple of minutes.

Fact no. 4 :

In the absence of the real naatevaik , the intern becomes the patient's naatevaik .
eg: "Aye sun na , dekh , yeh patient ka relative nahi hai , usko tu neeche X-ray nikaal ke leke aaja , aur phir upar la , iska 2-3 collection baaki hai , toh serum ammonia tu jaake Healthcare mein de , aur blood culture e-lab mein de de , aur sun , vapas aate waqt , uska X-ray collect kar lena phir CCL se iska reports trace kar na hai, aur haan , mein bhool hi gaya , iska grouping - cross matching ka sample blood bank mein dena hai , woh bhi kar na . aur jyaada timepass mat kar , jaldi aaja"
(Aaah ! Now we know why the relative is bloody absconding ! )

Fact no. 5 :
Apparently ,there is no job too low or unfitting for an intern.
Scenario i.
"Aye Intern , sun na , hum log ke liye chai leke aana , aur sun , khud ke liye bhi lena"

(WOW ! Thanks !! Im sooooooo happy , I needed that cup of tea 'SO' badly . . . yeah right )

Scenario ii.
"Aye sun na , dekh abhi 12 baj gaya hai , tu ward 40 mein jaake ruk , 2 o' clock ko mera ek relative aanewala hai , uska x-ray aur USG karvake aana "

(bus ?? itna hi ?? aur kuch nahi ? UNKO chai nahi mangta hai kya?? saala kaamchor !)

Scenario iii.
After 15 days in the same department , the registrar (houseman's boss - refer diagram) doesn't recognise you and asks you :
"Tu kaun hai ?"
Me - "Intern"
"Acha Ho gaya , chal sun , tereko 30 number ward malum hai?"
Me (trying to escape with a straight face) - "Nahi !"
"Bas Kya? Chal chod , Kisko bhi puchle , aur udhar jaake Sunita patient ka file leke aanaa"

(Harami sala , try telling a 50 year old , fat , post menopausal , irritated , rude , foul-mouthed , bitchy maushi to run this stupid errand and lets see if you come out alive from the verbal assault you'll recieve)

Scenario iv
"Intern , yeh Nirmala patient ka parso bheja hua urine culture ka report trace karke laa , aur sun , aaj subah jo bhi samples bheja tha , woh sub trace karke laa na "

(Aur kuch saheb ? Joota pochu ? jhadu ? pocha ? bathroom saaf karu ?)

Fact 6.
Sanity still exists .
Yes , It would be injustice to those housemen and registrars* , who have made life easier , if I didn't acknowledge their tolerant and friendly behaviour with us - interns.
Nonetheless , Internship has been an enriching experience during which I have made a lot of mistakes , learnt a lot from them , made great friends and had a ball !
* Dr Srikanth Kakad(Med) , Dr. Anup T (Med) Dr Trupti (Psy) , Dr Sachin(Surg) ,Dr Sundaram (Surg) , Dr Mihir (Orth), Dr Vikramaditya (surg) -RNCH - absolute gems and great clinicians .Thanks guys !

Disclaimer : (After spewing so much venom, I need to save my ass, don't I ?) 
Note : That the doctors and the paramedical staff at KEMH are doing a fantastic job with the resources available to them is a well known fact , and is sincerely appreciated by the author. With due respect to the senior doctors at KEMH , the picture alongside the article is only a satirical caricature of the hierarchial architecture that exists in our hospitals.No part of this picture or this article depicts any particular individual(s) , but , it is merely an exaggerated reflection of the system in place.The author's over indulgence is not meant to hurt any concerned party's sentiments.No offence should be taken since , none is intended.

© 2006 .No part of this article may be reproduced or quoted without the expressed permission of Akshay Gopinathan Nair .

Friday, December 01, 2006

After Gandhi-giri , is this Baba-giri ? . .

A statue of Dr. B R Ambedkar is destroyed in Kanpur . Within a few hours , Maharashtra burns. A 23 year old youth loses his life in the riots in Nashik. One more is killed in Osmanabad district.A curfew is imposed in Pimpri and Pune .Sporadic rioting is seen all over Mumbai with public transport virtually shutting down. People stranded at work , schools shut; roads closed. Chaos all over. But the worst is yet to come , 2 boggies of the Deccan Queen are burnt in Ulhasnagar.
All of this happened as a result the anger and rage amongst the people who wanted to protest against the desecration of Dr. Ambedkar's statue.Is the anger justified ? Yes. But are the means justified ? No way.
After Sanjubaba showed the nation what Gandhigiri was , are we now seeing Babagiri ? Most definitely not , if at all anything , its only dadagiri !
Dr. Ambedkar's vision of a discrimination free India was and is noble and exemplary. A man who was truly way ahead of his times. And at a time when dalits were discriminated against , he stood up for them and championed their causes, made consitutional arrangements to ensure equitable distribution of opportunities and resources . The old Hindu society ,supposedly had a religiously sanctioned racism that had maimed, dehumanized and destroyed hundreds of millions of people through the ages .
But now 56 years after Ambedkar took the first step in the social unification of India ,one doesn't see the kind of inhuman and degenerated practices of caste based discrimination often, especially in a cosmopolitan city like Mumbai.Ofcourse , my thoughts here , obviously , are those of an urban observer. The whole concept of 'untouchability' has been universally abolished . His vision , 'not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially' , has been achieved. But there is a lot of work left to be done.
I see no reason why burning trains , stoning shops , stopping traffic and disrupting normal life can do any good. I am not against the protests , I am against the way they protestors protest. Not only are the way they protested a massive waste of time , energy , human resources ; but more importantly this is a step back in time , in terms of our thoughts and idealogies. If someone's thoughts , ideas or actions hurt someone else's sentiments , there is surely a more civilised way to register one's protest.
The saddest part of this whole affair is that Dr. Ambedkar was a Gandhian , and would never have approved of this. He was someone who personified the idiom "the pen is mightier than the sword" . The country has come a long way in trying to achieve social uniformity , and this is not because of the politicians , but inspite of them.
However , when such unnecessary acts of violence take place , it only ensures further alienation of the so called oppressed section of society. They drift more and more away mainstream society , of which they themselves ,unknowingly , are such an integral part of. This 'Rang De Basanti and Lage Rahe Munnabhai ' generation should realise that only when this vision of a unified people is achieved ,will the country go ahead.
This vision will never be achieved overnight or in a matter weeks or months. It has to be a gradual, radical, sustained and united effort by an entire generation. It will be oppressed, suppressed and questioned; it may not be practical at first .Call it overtly Utopian , bhashanbaaji or impractical but a beginning has to be made somewhere. What we need is not a secular rethink, but a secular movement or perhaps even a secular revolution. It must change our thoughts, words, ideas and eventually reflect in our actions. And as citizens for peace, we know deep down inside that this is not only the path to peace but also to progress. The Power to help ourselves in within, we just need to find the strength to use it responsibly.
Jai Hind.
Jai Maharashtra.
© 2006 .No part of this article may be reproduced or quoted without the expressed permission of Akshay Gopinathan Nair .