Friday, January 18, 2008

The dissolute doctor

I stumbled across a blog -- alas, no longer being maintained -- from a British doctor, "Venial Sinner", who writes about the daily traumas of being a doctor in the British hospital system. Not a lot of humour there, except perhaps the gallows variety, but he writes good blog.

There's his frustration at seeing the only chance of identifying a mysterious disease disappear because of the interference of ignorant, judgmental, self-appointed god-botherers:

We have a single lead: an area of infective looking tissue on CT which we could biopsy and culture. Sharon cannot consent to the procedure; she does not currently have the capacity. In the morning, we spoke to her mother who agreed that the biopsy should go ahead all the same and that she would consent to this in place of her daughter (as the law allows).

That was the morning. By the afternoon everything had changed. Sharon's mother had some news. She had gone to the church and spoken with the Elders. The Elders has listened to the story, considered, and pronounced their verdict. Sharon had had no brain infection. God punishes those who live dissolute lives and Sharon had taken drugs. God does not like drugs. His punishment had been severe but he had heard the prayers of Sharon's mother and, being a good and merciful old chap, he had relented. Sharon would recover and all would be well. There was no infection and, ergo, there need be no biopsy. Sharon's mother, a devout Christian, swallowed it whole. She withdrew her consent for the biopsy immediately.

There's his example of how modern medicine can utterly fail to cure patients, and in fact make their life even more miserable and the common problem of patients with medically unexplained symptoms.

On learning that the new Polish government was cracking down on homosexuals, and that the Party Boss had declared that "The affirmation of homosexuality will lead to the downfall of civilization. We can't agree to it.", Venial Sinner remarked:

Downfall of civilisation, you say? Goodness, sounds bad. Who’d have thought it? You start off by letting two men hold hands in the street and before you know it the whole of mankind is poised to plunge backwards into benighted barbarity.

Cheers doc, where ever you've got to.

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