I’ve been waiting to read this for about 2 years and I read it in 5 days. It’s the funniest book I’ve read. Kay lays it on thick with trying to be funny but he succeeds. He trained in the mid-noughties and he paints a grim picture. If that is what it was like under a Labour government, where the NHS got roughly what it needed, then I dread to think about what it must be like now, to be a junior doctor with the savage budget cuts.
Senior house officers are running clinics with consultants on the other end of the phone if needed. Clearly it shouldn’t be this way as one of Kay’s penultimate diary entries show. This is all too well demonstrated by the case of Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba.
Sadly, the people with your lives in their hands are worked to exhaustion with no mental health support, drastically reduced social life and even have creature comforts like makeshift beds in the break room and pool tables taken away. Record numbers of physicians are retiring early and emigrating abroad where their skills and knowledge are more widely appreciated. And if these are not being replaced by foreign doctors then a crisis is brewing.
Patient OM’s favourite routine is to follow behind the ward round, his hospital gown on back-to-front, like a white coat (plus or minus underwear, for a bit of morning Bratwurst), and chip in with ‘Yes!’, ‘Zat is correct!’ and the occasional ‘Genius!’ whenever a doctor says something. Today he took a dump on the floor next to me so I sadly had to retire him from active duty.
Prescribing a morning-after pill in A&E. The patient says, ‘I slept with three guys last night. Will one pill be enough?’
My poker face has served me well over the years. It’s seen me through an eighty-year-old telling me about his use of a colossal butt-plug called The Assmaster and gently explaining to a couple in infertility clinic that massaging semen into her navel isn’t quite going to cut it, conception-wise.
Work has pretty much given me PTSD.
At least you get a warm bed for a few nights,’ I said.
‘Are you joking?’ he replied. ‘I’ll get bloody MRSA in here.’ It’s come to something when the streets outside a hospital have a better reputation for cleanliness than the corridors within.
Chronic glucose poisoning – Obesity.
Incarceritis – Onset of symptoms immediately following arrest.
Status dramaticus – Medically well but over-emotional.
Therapeutic phlebotomy – Gets better after a blood test.
I tell a woman in antenatal clinic that she has to give up smoking. She shoots me a look that makes me wonder if I’ve accidentally just said, ‘I want to fuck your cat,’ or ‘They’re closing Lidl’.