Monday, June 24, 2013

Things Will Look Up (right?)

I would so much rather be working the day shift this week. Three of my favourite medical students are on the ward during the day. Instead, I am stuck doing nights with someone who has been making it a point to make my life a little nastier whenever he sees me. I'm not talking about my own reg, just someone I have the misfortune of having to refer patients to.

We did a term together some time back. It was all going swimmingly. In fact, I'd noticed that he was texting me at odd times, like when I was on holiday to ask if I was having fun or to say hello and stuff. He was always also inviting me out for dinner which I didn't put too much thought into because he has a long term girlfriend back in his country of origin.

But on the last day of my term, something really strange happened. He started yelling at me and threatening me, saying that I had pointed at his face and thereby (going by his culture) had cursed his parents. Another registrar was in the room, an Aussie bloke, who like me had no idea what was happening. I checked with the Aussie registrar later to try and figure out if I had missed something or if there was some basis to the abuse I had just endured but he really couldn't add anything to what I knew (which was nothing).

Either way, I debriefed with a staff counsellor (as I do with most untoward events) later in the week and gave her permission to investigate discretely if she felt it was necessary. She was of the opinion that the registrar might have had more than a professional interest in me and some how had taken offense because I was not what he had expected of a woman (he is from Asia).

While I do try to be sensitive to other cultures, I really don't see how it's fair to be expected to understand every Asian/other culture out there and to be yelled at in a professional environment because I'd somehow crossed some line drawn in a different country. I mean, I'm ethnically Chinese myself, and lived in South East Asia for an extended period of time as a child so I don't think I am completely out of touch but I really have no idea if what happened was  a cultural issue of if the doctor just had some sort of a psychotic break.

Either way, I removed him from my facebook page because I wasn't sure what he'd go on to use my private information for (given the whole episode) but at hospital continued to be polite and greeted him when we met. He, on the other hand, blatantly ignored me, and became even more jovial to everyone around me. Even more friendly to my students, while flatly ignoring me. On top of that, he sent other interns and RMOs to me specifically to get me to do work for his team and this happened multiple times, which I would have been fine with, if only he'd had the courtesy to ask for these favours on his own. This has been going on for 3 months now, and once in a while, when he is in the position to, he makes some remark about how I'm not working up a patient well enough, or how "ED is not just a triage" even when a patient was clearly for admission and when we'd done as much as we could (some patients are complicated and the ED is not really the place to be dealing with complicated patients).

It's hard when you're a junior doctor and such problems arise because you have to try and prioritise your professional life, even when someone is attacking you for personal reasons. I will consider leaving this hospital in the coming year, should the situation not improve soon.

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