Have you ever considered becoming a doctor, or wondered what life as a doctor in Singapore was like?
In this series, we share all about our lives as doctors – the good, bad and downright funny.
1. “Patient found squatting on toilet. Informed not to squat on toilet bowl. Explained it was a fall risk”.
I spent a good minute laughing at this nurse’s matter-of-fact entry. It was hilarious to me on 3 counts:
- Our poor patients unfortunately have close to zero privacy while in hospital. The toilet doors do not have locks, so nurses can check in on them at any time (in case of an accident). As you’d imagine, this doesn’t afford them much private time to do their business.
- This patient was sadly “caught” squatting on a toilet bowl. Aren’t there posters around Singapore for this kind of stuff?
- Said nurse was also opportunistic enough to throw in a bit of education about the risks of falling.
2. A colleague asked “where’s doctor X”, to which me and my friend simultaneously replied “try the pantry”.
As doctor X is on the large side, we immediately got a disapproving tut-tut look from a fellow colleague for being judgemental.
Except that Doctor X is well known for spending most of her free time in the pantry snacking, and we simply answered the first thought that came to mind!
3. A patient in a rehabilitation ward told my colleague that he never wanted to complain about pain again.
When queried why, he explained:
“Every time I complain about pain, all the doctor does for me is order another X-Ray!” (doctors are really not that unsympathetic – we order for X-rays occasionally in case of persistent pain, to ensure that we didn’t miss a bone fracture).
4. In Singapore, family members frequently request that doctors avoid revealing to patients the cancer/terminal illness diagnosis, which doctors try their best to accede to.
I’ve never fully understood the logic of this.
5. Where important medical decisions are concerned, it’s equally common in Singapore for patients to request for doctors to “ask my children” or “let my son decide”.
Asian culture aside, it’s still your own health and body at the end of the day. (Perhaps that’s why Asian parents want all their children to be doctors?)
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