Friday, 27 May 2016

Surgical Skills

After the recent revelations about the British Medical Association and the very political ambitions behind the recent junior doctors’ strike the warring sides are now back around the table and the fuss and furore has died down... for now. Of course, strikes are never far away and the French unions, seizing their moment while Europe is distracted by the migrant crisis, the ‘rise of the right’ a possible Brexit and all those shenanigans, are lurching shambolically to the left and bringing the country to a standstill. There is actually such a thing in France as ‘Strike Season’, the disputes neatly timed to resolve themselves just in time for summer holibobs. They are so much better at this holding the country to ransom shit than we are.

Anyway, it’s business as usual in Britain’s hospitals and the wards are busily buzzing away with the labour of tending to the lame and halt. Surgeries are back to prescribing ineffective antibiotics for imaginary ailments and all manner of patches and poultices are being applied to every bodily appendage and orifice. The operating theatres are gradually getting back on track and theatre staff are regaining their playful nature. During one tea break a group of surgeons tale to discussing their favourite type of patient.

"I like accountants” says one, “because inside, it’s like reading a well-kept and tidy ledger. Plus everything is arranged in alphabetical order." The assembly then join in, imagining such a thing: appendix, colon, duodenum, heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, spleen, stomach and so forth. All agree that this might be a slightly impractical set-up, especially given the poor spelling and notoriously atrocious handwriting of doctors. There has to be a better way.

“Well, I like librarians” says a second, “because all of their organs are arranged using the Dewey Decimal System." They all nod; this seems like a far better way, grouping all the bits and bobs according to function and they happily devise their own version whereby the intestinal tract is neatly accessed by one handy incision and the cardio-vascular system by another. But far from gaining universal approval there is still the knotty problem of reading numbers when everything is covered in blood and iodine.

“Electricians” declares a third. “Inside every electrician, everything is neatly colour coded. You can’t really go wrong. Yes, electricians have the easiest bodies to work on.” No reading, no worrying about alphabetising, no numbers to accidentally go back in the wrong order and everything ordered by a system even a child could understand. One surgeon piped up: “But what about the colour-blind?” Stumped again.

The discussion faltered for  moment and small talk began to break out until one suddenly said, “I have it. The perfect body to work on would surely be a politician’s.” The responses were somewhat less than charitable as they began to imagine what they would like to do should they find Jeremy Hunt under the knife. “No, no, no” said the originator of the idea, “what I meant was, they would be simple to operate on because they are heartless, gutless and spineless... the elbow and arse are interchangeable and it doesn't matter what you do with the brain as no use for it has ever been found."

1 comment:

  1. I lived in France and Canada for quite a while. Of course you are quite right about the French I did not enjoy living there except for there healthcare system. Canada I loved even though I was living in the French speaking part they are not like their European cousins.

    Now I am back living in the UK I do miss French and Canadian doctors. I hate a visit to a British doctor when I can get an appointment that is as I have found they are not up to much and the NHS is truly crap.