Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Asshole doctors: Less common, but still around

I am on a surgery rotation now and one attending I work with is a complete asshole. Now, surgeons are suppose to have a reputation of being assholes, but after a rather benign surgery experience in medical school (the worst I got was just not being acknowledged), I thought it was a thing of the past. For the most part, it is. However, there are still some physicians around who still perfectly fit the arrogant asshole stereotype.

Despite having gone through medical school, I do not know the intricacies of the types of prostheses or the indications for these types of prostheses. When an attending hears that I am not familiar with those types of equipment, they could respond in one of four ways: 1) Teach me the differences, 2) Direct me to someone who could teach me, 3) just tell me what to order, or 4) Sigh, yell at me for not understanding him, ask where I went to med school and why they didn't teach me that particular fact. Guess which one I got today.

At some point in the past, that type of response was the norm. I suppose it was somewhat of an effective way of teaching. It scarred residents enough to force them to remember it. Today, though, with the hospital working more like a system of individuals, each with their own expertise and responsibilities, rather than a boss that (thinks he) knows everything and his underlings. Today, people don't take to kindly to being treated like an underling. The nurses, physician assistants and administrative people who work with this physician just plain don't work as hard or as effectively because this guy is an asshole to everyone. To me, it doesn't really matter. I ignored most of what he said because I'll be leaving this hospital and won't be seeing him ever again. If I were to see him again though (perhaps as a radiologist), I'm not sure I'd go out of my way to make his life any easier (I just might do the opposite, as long as it doesn't harm patient care). If you're arrogant or an asshole in a hospital, it doesn't matter how experienced, educated or well-qualified you are, your co-workers that you depend on will make your life much, much harder.