Saturday, May 17, 2008


Remember how the PG students went on strike during our labour room posting? Ans the house surgeons joined them? When I discovered my latent surgical skills when I scrubbed in as the first (and only) assistant for a Caesarean section? When I delivered a baby and gave an amnioinfusion? No? Chhe. It’s over here.

This time, it is the doctors who are on strike. Both teaching (the ones in medical colleges) and the non-teaching (the ones practising in other hospitals) followers of Hippocrates employed by the Government of Kerala have refused to work for the measly salary they are currently given. Biased and unbiased reports can be read here and here.

You know what this means, don’t you? No classes! This rarer-than-an-honest politician event was heralded by a great deal of applause and laughter until we learnt that we get extensions at the end of the strike. Now, the cud chewing baboons at the University of Kerala have already given a six month lag due to their zeal in postponing exams and the lack of it in announcing our results. While my friends who prudently decided to study in medical colleges outside Kerala are in the middle of their final year, I am still in fourth year. Yay. Not.

We are all totally in support of the strike, of course. At least some of us will practice in government run hospitals in the future, and we would really enjoy earning slightly more than a lower division clerk.

I don’t understand why the government has such a pathological dislike of doctors. House surgeons, whose absence would paralyse the hospital, are given peanuts. PG students, who actually look after the patients, get slightly more than the housies. Medical officers, who run the show, the ones with lots of training and plenty of experience, are paid a fraction of their worth. And then they act all indignant when nobody wants to work in a government hospital. Until last year, housies did all the blood, urine, sputum, stool, and other body fluid collection and despatching, along with their routine jobs. Now the dearly beloved government has decided nursing students should undergo a period of internment after completion of their course, where they perform the above mentioned activities. The fly in the ointment is, their stipend is higher than that of the medical interns. Government darling, do you even understand how difficult it is for us to go on strike? Contrary to what you think (assuming that you have at least one neuron in your head), our natural instinct is not to increase suffering. Doctors are the one of the most overworked employees on your payroll, and also the most underpaid. I get the feeling that a lot of research is required on brain transplantation, so you can act like something resembling a normal human being.

Anyway, the strike did not prevent my SPM test from being held. *sob*
A large group of professors tried to stop the Parkists, but our SPM prof was adamant. And I was too busy thali-fying about neonatal tetanus in socially handicapped children (or some such) to notice our saviours being ruthlessly struck down.

There is this guy in the department of sleep producing medicine who speaks English with a really weird accent. He is, obviously, not mallu. (All mallus learn to speak Manglish at their mother’s knees.) Let’s call him Romancer, because, well, that is our nickname for him. The SPM echhis do not print question papers for our tests, they just have the Romancer read it out. It took me three whole minutes, and a hushed discussion with Twin to establish that epizemolzigal dryad was not a hitherto unknown species of mosquito that spreads Kyasanoor forest disease, and also that KFD was not transmitted by mosquito bites. All of the Parkists have booming voices to prevent attacks of sleep apnoea among the students during class. Why the Romancer is made to dictate questions at every single exam is beyond me.

One more month, a couple of exams, and I’m in final year. It seems like yesterday that I was a scared first year, who carried around an inhaler of Salbutamol to get out of ragging on the grounds that stress precipitated my ‘asthma’. It’s been fun, even the exams, after the ulcers have healed. :)


tangled said...

Your life's such an opera, m'dear!
Good luck and all that.

Ziah said...

And the tirade against SPM continues.... :) Just wondering...what with your exams being always postponed et al, how long(er) have u been stuck in med college really? :)

Pravin said...

You know something? Iam with you guys on the strike thing but Iam really hoping that you guys have a skeleton staff working to provide relief for the poor patients tht comes there in the emergency..

2 most unappreciated jobs are teaching and govt.doctors...yet we pay our government servants who do no work so well

brocasarea said...

hm..strike....similar thing had happened here 6m back and guess what they increased housis stipend from 4k to 6.5k!!....and hope u enjoy

black coffee said...

its quite sad!
and ppl think we are being unair in complaining abt it!! :O

well Romancer?? lol! amazing story seems to be hidden behind the nick name!

Again good luck with sleep producing medicine!
and i realised a lil to late after writing my internal that KFD was trasmitted by ticks not mosquitoes! :D

so now am hoping i wil pass my final exam which i am having nightmares abt now! :(

all the very best!

educatedunemployed said...

Believe it or not these are going to be the best years of your medical career.

Nikhil Narayanan said...

Hi Kiddo Doc
I know the sad state of docs in Kerala Medical Colleges/Health Centres.

On top of that private practice is viewed as much as a crime as terrorism.
Bloody, mallu media!
Congrats on "almost being" in final year.
May things change for good.
I am an eternal optimist.

Mithrandir said... about strikes, it has happened like thrice in my MBBS course here in bangalore!
and about results and exams, here in karnataka, the RGUHS is adamant on preponing every exam by atleast 3 weeks(been more once). also, it had declared our 1st year results 3 months after we had written our exams but still preponed our exams of II MBBS(in 2007 jan). the result- we are 3 months ahead of schedule of the prescribed duration of MBBS.
all the best again for all your exams.

silverine said...

After the Ulcers have healed...LOL!!!

Adorable Pancreas said...

Thank you, and all that.

It's been 4 years, and I have another couple of years to go. And a few months more. SUCKS, don't you agree?

A lot of people think of us as a necessary evil. Gah.

It's still miserable. At the current rates, I believe it should be around 10K. :(
SPM, no, I don't think that's going to happen.

black coffee,
There isn't much of a story behind the nickname, which is why I haven't mentioned it.
Thanks, and good luck to you too! God, I break out into a sweat just thinking about the univs...

I know I am going to look back on all this and laugh, but right now, exams are a little to real. But other than that, we generally have a blast at college. :)

nikhil narayanan,
Most papers carry a one sided report whenever doctors go on strike, and I guess the readers also take the same view. Anyway, the trike is all over now. :)
I am in final year, part I, now, which goes by the less scary sounding name of fourth year. :D Thanks!

Ahead of schedule... I am SO jealous! God!
And thank you. But still, ahead of schedule... :(

Hehe. Not ulcers, but my mom did have to resort to a sleeping pill to get me to stop walking around the house at midnight and waking up random family members informing them that I was going to fail the week before my results were announced.