A week ago, I read the following letter to The Star (the paper, not the celestial unit) titled "Housemen need the hours"
I AM a house officer in my first posting in the Orthopaedics Department of Hospital Sg Buloh. I strongly disagree with the ruling to cut down on the working hours of house officers to 60 a week and to be given two days off a week.
The housemanship programme is a training programme. Freshly recruited house officers are mostly, let’s face it, incompetent.
Two months into the programme and I still find there are a lot of things I need to learn, including even the basics.
How can we benefit from reduced working hours? It is laughable to think that with less training, one can be a better doctor.
Let’s not forget that doctors of the previous generations all survived a much more intense training programme. If they could do it, why can’t we?
And to have our parents fight for us? We, who are in our 20s? A shameful act, indeed.
We need the training. We need the scoldings and the discipline. We need to become doctors, not killers. We need much more than 60 hours a week, believe me.
Let me postulate this situation for you, the public: You have heard stories of incompetent doctors making horrible mistakes.
Imagine doctors of the future who would have had even lesser training than these incompetent doctors.
Imagine yourself needing a medical procedure and you can only turn to glorified butchers and shamans, instead of surgeons and doctors.
Dr JOHAN ARIFF JUHARI,
Although your letter had struck a few good chords with most MOs and specialists who had read it, I agreed to some parts of it, and other parts of it, it believe it is just pure hypocrisy. A hypocrite house officer trumps any lazy house officer, anytime.
I fully agree that house officers need more hours and more training. Plus, house officers who still have not wean off from their breastfeeds after graduated from medical school are truly shocking, too.
I am also shocked that at 2 months into programme, you have not grasp on your basics.
Although the system had restricted your working hours to 60hours, it does not mean that you can’t extend own time in the hospital at your own leisure.
The hospital is open twenty four seven and I don’t think any consultant, specialists or MOs will keep you out of the ward or operating theater if you offer to come back. Plus, outside your working hours, you can also do more reading about the basic sciences about the disease of patients or learn up more about thing that you’re lacking in.
The point is Dr. Johan, you’re a slacker and your letter further proves you’re a hypocrite slacker.
Nowadays, I been doing more and more house officers work, because people like you, Dr Johan, who do not have initiative to learn how to do it and chose to be pampered in learning.
Few years back, whenever I finishing C-Section at subcutaneous layer, I would release the assisting the house officer to go and type in the postop note in the computerized system. I would tell them the basic essential details and the rest is more or less the same. And I would double-check for the less bright ones. The bright ones will have the wisdom to do it correctly and responsibly. To write a post op note is not rocket science. I believe any 3rd year medical student can do it, because it is straightforward, repeated and basic.
These days, I had seen the worst of the worst. Few days back, a house officer just sat there idle and told me she did not get the personal password to the system yet, because she is in her first posting. Some of her first posting friends already got their own passwords, why couldn’t she get one? And she already in the department for 1 month plus. Why can’t she call any of her other 30 or 40 fellow house officers for the temporary passwords? Why can’t she come back to OT to ask me my password instead of sitting idle, wasting all our time?
The recurrent time-wasting phenomenon recurred again after 2 days. Another house officer opened the surgical note template and told me he does not know what to write because the computer system had been down when he was tagging 1 week ago, so he had not learn it, but the system already recovered for a week. For the record, he is a house officer in the 2nd posting. The computer system already back to normal for 1 week, why can’t he take the initiative after his compulsory 60hours to learn up? His other fellow house officers in their first posting can already prepare post op notes even for the 2 different complicated elective gynaeoncology operations, and being in 2nd posting, he can’t even prepare post op notes for a simple C-Section?
In conclusion, Dr. Johan, like the 2 house officers quoted above, you’re a slacker because in spite of knowing you can do more than the compulsory 60hours but you didn’t. If you didn’t know that you can, then categorically you should be classified as retarded.I apologize for being mean, because the one thing that medical fraternity could not tolerate more than glorified butchers and shamans are glorified hypocrite butchers and shamans.
Kindly refrain from blaming the system for your own incompetence.xoxo,