Thursday, January 19, 2012

The shirker

There was a girl in my class named Elaine who got a reputation during third year for blatantly shirking responsibility.

I actually had no problem with Elaine and even sort of liked her. Even as early as high school, I've always somehow gotten along well with girls that everyone hates, though I'm not sure what that says about me.

Anyway, a typical Elaine story:

She and I worked together on L&D and one day I was waiting for the patient I was following all day to deliver, so I asked if she could cover a C-section for me even though it was my "turn" so I could see the vaginal delivery. She refused, but fortunately, the delivery managed to happen before the C-section, so it was all good.

As I came out of the delivery room, I said, "Well, I guess I'll do the C-section now." But things were so slow and boring that Elaine changed her mind and now she wanted to do my C-section instead. I'm sure this would have pissed me off if I cared at all about OB/GYN, but I didn't, so whatever.

What I liked about Elaine was that she was forthright about her lack of interest in anything. She didn't ever pretend to care, no matter who she was talking to. When our resident asked her to do a presentation, she said, "If I were interested in OB/GYN, wouldn't I have gone to the OB/GYN meeting the other day?" I kind of respected that.

One morning on GYN, Elaine and I were scheduled to alternately scrub with an attending named Dr. Rich for his four surgeries (stretching from 7 AM to 5 PM). She scrubbed on the first one, then I was supposed to scrub on the next one, then she was to scrub on the next one, then I'd do the last one.

When I came in for the second surgery, Dr. Rich made a really weird comment to me. He said, "When I ask you to do something, don't ask if someone else is supposed to do it."

I was like, "Uh okay." As if I'd ever do something like that.

Finally, at the end of the surgery, I told Dr. Rich that Elaine would be scrubbing in for the next surgery. He said to me, "No, you are."

I later found out that Elaine had managed to piss Dr. Rich off during the first surgery. It was a laparoscopic surgery and he asked her to change the settings on the camera and she said, "Isn't someone paid to do that?" He didn't appreciate her comment. I thought it was sort of funny though.


  1. And somehow, she passed that rotation?

  2. Amazing that she graduated. You have to learn to ask stuff like:
    Do you want the know cut too short or too long?
    I've run out of fingers to hold instruments with, Dr. Busy. Do you want me to hold the next one with my teeth or my armpit?

    You know, be accomodating.

    1. Omg I have so been in that position. My ObGyn had like eight instruments but had no table to put them on. She was also in a rush and kept throwing more instruments at me. They're heavy! And giant. It's amazing how good elbows / chest / air are at holding things when you're terrified you'll get a scalpel thrown at you if you don't catch it...

  3. armpit may be more stable...

    gifted people are often impatient w the mundane. Fizz, wondering if you considered Elaine, gifted?

  4. What happened to Elaine? What specialty did she end up in?

  5. Wow, she must have gotten some really poor evaluations! She must have been really confident in her board scores and grades or she knew she wanted to go into a less competitive specialty. What did she end up matching into?

  6. To me, that just seems like a selfish and entitled thing to say. Like not throwing away an errant empty bottle in the cafeteria because the janitorial staff is paid to clean. The two might not be equivalent but the underlying principle is the same.

  7. Jean: No. But she was funny.

    M1: You're right, although I think she was kidding.

    Caligirl: She matched in medicine, then switched to neurology.

  8. To me, that is scary because it means that we will have a doctor running around who doesn't seem to care about what she is doing.