Back to the Surgical Wards

I’m back on that horrible horrible surgical ward, the ward of bad memories from last year. The constant buzzing in the ward of bells and alarms is all too obvious. I see some familiar haunting faces. Faces that give me a nauseating feeling of disgust.

It’s a good thing that those haunting faces are on the other side of the surgical ward. I’m looking directly back at those past surgical consultants that gave me such a hard time last year, from the desk of the orthopaedics team.

For the mean time, I’ll be looking after bones, joints and wounds, as opposed to botched up colon resections, dehisced surgical wounds, and bladder to abdomen fistula-from-bad-surgery (all of which I really did encounter during my surgical time last year) thank you very much.

Our orthopaedics patients are few in number (sometimes only 5-6 on the ward), generally quite well post op (joint replacements – what can go wrong?), and have far fewer comorbidities. Our team is fairly large too (3 residents vs 4 for surgery, but much fewer patients, and way less clinics).

Some of my registrars still suck, with one even being a registrar from last year. He assigns some of the most time wasting tasks for me, at one time, phoning me up and slowly dictating all the patient details to me so that I could write up a theatre booking form. It was painstakingly slow, dictating the patient’s name, and at times, missing a few letters so that I’d ask him to repeat again. Makes me question the registrar’s judgement in that firstly, it would be much quicker for him to fill the damn form out himself, and secondly, he’s not only wasting his time, but also the resident’s time, therefore wasting two people’s time.

Some things in orthopaedics remain the same as surgery however. The mad frantic rush in the morning ward rounds as we jump from patient to patient, and the unclear plans for VTE prophylaxis, as each consultant likes different VTE prophylaxis use. On the other hand, a lot has changed too. There are way fewer MET calls on our side, or constant requests to review unwell patients, and way less phone calls from other staff hurrying us to get certain jobs done.

Yeap, I enjoy orthopaedics way more than surgery. I’m just thinking how much it sucks for the surgical residents now, but I can empathise with them at least. Been there, done that.

The AHPRA Registrations Are Pretty Brutal

I had once looked up on the AHPRA website (the Australian medical register of pracititioners), and looked up my name, displaying it proudly to my parents.

“Look, I’m a fully qualified doctor” I showed to my parents.

They displayed a look that only any parent would display at one of their child’s proud achievements. They were proud of me.

But aside from that, I had learnt earlier as a medical student, that you could look up the list of deregistered medical practitioners. This was on my anaesthetics term, speaking to the registrar.

“One thing I hold to high regards, is practicing ethical medicine” she had told me.

“If you go on the AHPRA website, there is a list of deregistered practitioners, and the website also outlines in great detail why that medical practitioner was deregistered”.

I was pretty shocked about that, as the registrar went on to tell me how she recognized a classmate’s name amongst those names of deregistered doctors, explaining how her classmate had got involved in intimacy with a vulnerable patient.

I never really thought much more about that AHPRA website, but come a few months back, it got me thinking again. I had been studying some ethics in preparation for a GP interview that is coming up. Taking a bit of time out from study, I decided to have a read about what the deregistrations were about. And let me tell you, the website borderlines on intrusion and voyeurism.

For one, not only is the practitioner’s name fully placed on the site, but the practitioner’s place of practice as well, and several paragraphs outlining exactly why that practitioner was deregistered/suspended. I must admit, it did make for some entertaining read, but I just felt that it was really creepy and intrusive, especially the amount of detail they outline in those reports. And the fact that anyone with internet access can see that information. It’s pretty much the “hall of shame” for the entire world to see. That makes me that little more careful about being ethical as a doctor.

For those interested, it’s up there. On a note, when I visited the site a few months back, there were several more entries, and the amount of detail was so much more. Looks like they scaled the details down a little bit.