Hopsital Combat II

The piece which am referring to is a well prepared article by a good author( we all took Mrs. Obiwulu’s English lessons together) and a long time friend. The piece contains a lot of truth which I must say, as a medical doctor by profession, hit the point. But I must beg to differ in some of his opinions because there are obviously two sides to this story, just like a coin.

To start with, I want to make a bold point that we all (I mean doctors, medical laboratory scientists and nurses) all work for a common goal and that is “To care for the sick”.
This “motto” is what should be borne in mind whether you have an MBBS or a Bsc in Medical Laboratory Science or a Diploma or Bsc in Nursing Science.
Everyone knows their role. I must say so because none of these three departments cannot work without the other. As the common Igbo saying goes, “I gaghi aku aku na-agba agba” ,so it is in this situation.

But then I must point out that in every institution, there MUST be a leader otherwise the system will go into anarchy and everything will just be a mere charade. And that leader in this context is the Doctor. It is a well known and incontrovertible fact which is why the Chief Medical Director of any hospital is a doctor. At this point, I must dare to say that most doctors are egotistical, perhaps this is mostly due to the fact that most doctors bearing in mind that “the doctor is the head of the medical team”, take it too far by imposing there authority on others. This, I must say is VERY wrong as it undermines the common goal of the medical team as I have stated above.

Again, I would want to correct the author that it is the Doctors that makes a diagnosis and go further to proffer solutions to the problem. I must make reference to the medical curriculum (3rd MBBS to be more precise), doctors do a full and complete course in pathology which we know is the backbone of all laboratory courses done by the Medical Laboratory Science students. In essence, we are trained to use that knowledge and our clinical skills to come up with a diagnosis. At this point, I must say that the MLScientists still go a lot further to study the technical details in coming up with laboratory results which contribute to the eventual diagnosis. So I think it’s pretty explanatory why a Consultant Pathologist who is a doctor must control the laboratory departments. He is not just a newbie doctor who has passed all his MBBS exams but has gone ahead to obtain a 4 year Fellowship in a specific aspect of pathology.

As I said before, all these don’t matter at all if (and actually if) we have in mind that we are working for the common goal of the patient. Sadly, it is only in Nigeria we have all these problems. Abroad, everyone knows there role and they play it well knowing fully well their target.

In conclusion, I would also, like the author of the original piece and my very good friend, reiterate the Emmy Award winning Peter Dinklage in “The Game of Thrones” as Tyrion ‘the imp’ Lannister:
“Never forget who you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor and it can never be used against you.”

Thank you.
Alex Onyemeh (MD)

Hospital Combat

Recently, I was banned from a Facebook group (Scientists in Development) for dropping provocative yet honest comments on the page.
Yeah, I know some of you don’t know this but I’m actually a medical laboratory scientist by profession and there’s an ongoing war between doctors and laboratory scientists in hospitals across the nation.

The fight for supremacy in hospitals has reached its apogee; the doctors see themselves as the messiah, the laboratory scientists want to be level with doctors and the nurses, well, they complete the triad.

This face-off makes me laugh rather than agitate me, I guess now you understand why I was banished from the Facebook group.

I do comprehend the plight of my colleagues; the doctors are egotistical. I don’t know if it’s a personal thing or they were taught that in Ethics class. Well, I must admit not all of them are conceited; my elder sister and my friend, Oseyi are both doctors but they are among the down-to-earth people I’ve met.

Doctors often feel superior to everybody and expect others to tremble at the sound of their voice. They head a lot of departments in the hospital and they are also threatening to take over the laboratory department too. Wait! What am I even saying! They have already taken over the laboratory. Consultant pathologists control laboratory departments in Teaching Hospitals across the nation.

When I asked a friend why they would boss the lab, he smugly replied “because we are doctors”. Another friend went further and said they don’t hanker for the Pharmacy because they are the only ones who perform, apart from them, of course! Imagine!!!!

Albert Einstein made a very important statement: “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” I told my colleagues they are the problem not the doctors and only if they fight the problem would they gain respect. Omo the kind abuse wey I receive no b here oh. Most senior scientists I’ve come by have no masters or doctorate degree; they are contented with just a bachelor’s degree. They feel substandard to doctors, who write exams every year to get to the acme of their profession and often shudder with fear in the presence of doctors. They are yet to recognize their worth. I mean, diagnosis is the bedrock of medicine. When I did my internship program, I squared off against a Consultant; you don’t come to my duty post and tell me what to do. I know my worth, my role and I play it well!

Some of the male scientists lie about having an MBBS when they woo girls because they already have it at the back of their minds that doctors are better than them. British actor, Peter Dinklage alias the Dwarf/Tyrion Lannister in the TV hit series “The Game of Thrones” once said “Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor and it can never be used against you.”

The title “doctor” doesn’t make one better or more intelligent than you; forget all these medical jargons they spit all the time – even in clubs/bars. For instance, a proud doctor would rather use the word ‘masticate’ than ‘chew’ just to let you know a doctor is in your midst. One day, I was out drinking with some colleagues and a doctor friend. Suddenly, the doctor deviated from our gist about money and women and started talking about the link between alcoholism and cytochrome p450, an enzyme that catalyses the oxidation of organic substances in the body; I hate when people do that, life is not all about medicine you know. One of the scientist guys cut him off midway and gave him a proper lecture.

In spite of this, we all can learn from one another and need each other for the betterment of the patients but here we are, fighting over nothing. When a patient visits a hospital, a nurse takes his or her vital signs and sends him/her to a doctor, who clerks the patient and sends him/her to a lab scientist to diagnose and ascertain what’s amiss; after the diagnosis, the lab scientist sends the result back to the doctor to prescribe some drugs, after which the patient heads to the pharmacy where the pharmacist dispenses the drugs to him. You see, it’s an interwoven web or should I say, a merry-go-round and they all need each other.