TO BEING DOCTORS-TO-BE

We who were always overachievers. Who missed the dusk of our adolescence solving multiple-choice questions.

We who began our adult lives spending alternate days with corpses. Who carry bones in our bags and books that break our backs. Who spend the prime of our youth in the grime of wards. Who have already witnessed a lifetime’s share of deaths. Who learn about depression but fail to recognise it in ourselves.

We who have no definite college hours. Who don white coats even in the heat of May. Who are accustomed to the deadweight of stethoscopes around our necks. Who will pursue likely teachers for a lesson even into the night.

We who also study law, sociology, psychology, entomology, nutrition, sanitation and statistics. Who are always between exams. Who neglect the pursuit of our other passions. Who sometimes cancel our own vacations. Who covet amphetamines.

We who touch people slathered with stools, slime and psoriasis. Who have been sprayed by every infective fluid. Who are protected from a life with HIV by the flimsy rubber of gloves. Who tempt its prolonged death every time we draw blood. Who laugh off our chances of contracting tuberculosis. Who know batchmates who have.

We who study for four-and-a-half years but intern as peons. Who graduate after our peers have finished postgraduation. Who are the last to earn first salaries. Whose parents must support us well into our twenties. Whose futures are thwarted by the government every step of the way.

We who sacrifice weekends to classes that propel us towards specialisation. Who must compete with each other for expertise you desperately need. Who will slog for years to earn the letters you look for suffixing our names.

We whose friends have designated us perpetually busy. Whose presence at family functions is always greeted with surprise. Who are sick of the question, ‘what are you going to specialise in?’

We who have befriended no non-medical person since our course began. Who are no longer with our loves from before it did. Who date each other and discuss medicine. Who will advise you to procreate before thirty but who marry after it.

We who trawl PlayStore for medical apps. Who have spent more on medical manuals than meals and movies combined. Who believe that the real problem is unregulated fertility. Who associate the first rains with malaria. Who are disillusioned by the fact that there is no health without wealth.

We who are hunted and haunted by questions that have no answers. Who feel guilty when we know less than we should. Who fear that we will never be good enough.

We who cannot round off numbers. Who are forbidden shortcuts. Who are not allowed to be judgemental. Who must help even the dregs of society.

We who cannot ever abandon logic. Who are rational but must allow for prejudices. Who have no choice but to listen.

We who will never tell you any of this.

We who really need to step back and appreciate ourselves.

 * * *

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351 thoughts on “TO BEING DOCTORS-TO-BE

    • This whole thing seems self-absorbed and self glorifying. Don’t like it at all. Nor do I don’t think med school is as hard as you paint it. Also, if you are medical and finding this ground breakingly insightful then you probably have not been in ongoing open discussions regarding the difficulties you are having with your colleagues and friends. Best do that.

      • Obviously you are not in Medicine nor have you studied to be a doctor. My husband was a doctor, my four children are doctors, I am in the medical field and honey you have not a clue. My electrician and plumber make more then doctors and a doctor sacrifices a lot to do what they do. Sorry you are totally way off base. Maybe a little jealous???

        • I am a Doctor who studied in India and I do think this is a tad too self glorifying and deceitful.
          Let me quote “We who touch people slathered with stools, slime and psoriasis”.Ooh pretty noble profession eh with a tad of caste system here.Grow up.!!!

          “We who study for four-and-a-half years but intern as peons” An intern needs to work his way round the wards ..its not a job making tea and serving your supervisor or Head of Department.Does being a peon be looked up as a down ward profession?Respect all is what a Doctor needs..Pity you and your peers and colleagues and mates who think the same.

          “We who sacrifice weekends to classes that propel us towards specialisation. Who must compete with each other for expertise you desperately need. Who will slog for years to earn the letters you look for suffixing our names.” Another case of megalomania!!!
          Do all doctors feel the same?No!!! So instead of we please substitute it as I in all sentences.
          Good Riddance to Docs like you..hope patients dont come unto you.

          • There is a tremendous difference betwixt the physician from India verse the physician in the United States that may cause the imbalance in the perecptions of both groups.
            1. The time invested is significantly greater in the US. You are older while your peers have already started working and have begun families. You sacrifice the best years of your life on the wards. This is particularly more difficult for women that would like to have children preferably with 46 chromosomes.
            2. The financial burden of medical school adds tremendous pressure. Most resdients that went to US medical schools now averate > $200,000 and up to $300,000 in student loans. How do you expect to pay for an engagement ring, wedding, start a marriage with that kind of debt burden.
            3. The respect physicians receive in India and the vulnerability physians enjoy in the United States is also highly discouraging. No comparison between the way both are perceived in their respective societies.

            Undoubtedly the sacrifices we have made and continue to make are NOT to be overlooked!

            • Exact same thoughts I had… The medical training “system” in the US vs India is quite different. They are polar opposites. Physicians in the US have been devalued by society because of encroaching professions, Google, etc. Furthermore, you see the costs of attending medical school in America are astronomical, and they continue to grow, whilst physician salaries are plummeting; don’t forget the opportunity cost of attending medical school. Most of your classmates from high school or college are out working, having families, etc.; physicians chose to become physicians, but that doesn’t negate the fact that there is a severe imbalance in how physicians are compensated relative to other professions. This article uses some hyperbole, but it’s mostly correct… it’s not meant to apply to each and every medical student/physician, and those of you who think it does… well, you’ve got issues that probably need to be seen by a physician. 🙂

              • Get Real..You want to heal the world and you want the “monies”.Its like Bukake.If you chose this profession to treat humans and expect them to cough up insanely amounts which the “System” is in cahoots with you..Earn and live a normal life..you will be rewarded for your good deeds.Treat without prejudice and monetary expectations..Peace is welcome in this chaos you all create for your greed tangential to your experiences,hours and sweat for the “monies”

                BurrrrP !

                • You clearly are not a Doc so you wouldn’t understand. Those of us that are, identify with this article. I see my life in every sentence of this article! It’s not even about the “monies”! Very touching piece!m

                • You are obviously not a DR you have no idea of the sacrifices made to become one the discipline the tears the debt. The fact that you give up the best years of your life. Mark I despise people who think like you I give respect where it is due and you are not respectable person. The long hours 80-90 hr weeks in residency. We don’t ask to be rich we ask to live a comfortable life esp since we sacrificed so much. Not to owe hundreds of thousands of dollars. We ask not to be punished for loving to help others!!

          • I am a doctor who studied in the USA and have practiced for 30 years in the trenches. Your response reeks of a hater. Recognize the truth.

          • forget it Mark……..if that is the right name, saying you are from india!!!….gthe story is true all over the world….not sure if you are a doc!!!

            • Sandy brain boxed beta suno: Knowing exactly the kind of reaction,I always look at it the shell script you people are ingrained in .The kernel is corrupt then the code can be changed if started early.Later stages..yaaa I feel like you docs..I am also one who suffers from “non recognition”…You chose to be a doc becoz of money or the urge to help people?
              Naa Layak!

              • Doctors don’t have a right to enjoy there life? We knew what we were signing up for but why are we painted as saints? This a profession like all others.

        • Diane, I totally agree with you on that one! I’m a Medical student myself and trust me everything written on the article is nothing but the truth. Our guy is probably jealous or just clearly bored or doesn’t know what exactly he is going on about. All in all, though we don’t earn as much as we’d love to or as much as we deserve, I still am proud to be in this field. The arts of Medicine is something beyond amazing. Everyone wants to be a Doctor but not everyone will actually become one, so it’s an honor.

        • Why study medicine if you are simply going to complain about it? All jobs have their challenges. If you don’t like your job and feel that you are making a lot of sacrifices, then change professions.

        • Everyone’s experience is different. I won’t lie, Med school was one of the hardest parts of my life, both physically, mentally, and emotionally. There were times when I was convinced that my parents were paying people all the previous years to tell me that I was smart, and now all of a sudden, then stopped.

          I was used to getting good grades, and now it was a struggle. When I was in university, I had no more than 4 hours of classes per day, when I started at Med School, for the first year, classes were Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm. My brain felt as though it was going to explode, then there was all this reading etc to do after. A part from Friday (to get home in time for Sabbath) I was in the library every evening until it closed at 10pm.

          Thank the Lord, I had good friends who were willing to “work around” my schedule, who would change plans at the last minute to accommodate me.

          I feel happy for those who did not think med school was tough, but for a lot of us, it was really rough, it was a journey down a tunnel with only occasional glimpses of light at the end.

          The idea that we came in with, usually does not match with the reality of what we see.

          And I do agree, there sometimes was a bit of jealousy, when I saw my friends of the same age, seemingly moving on with their lives, while I was still “a student”.

          I have a great respect for the few of my classmates who were married, and the one who actually had a child. I have no idea how they did it, but I know it wasn’t easy.

          So my thing is, instead of bashing the person for the post, just accept that this was his experience, be pragmatic enough to know that this may also be the experience of others, and if it wasn’t your experience, then good for you!

          But really, this back and forth “cuss out” is not really necessary.

          • …I am in my senior years and am debating between the School of Medicine or… anything easier really. To be clear I love medicine, the anatomy of the body, the idea of being able to operate on someone who is very near death and soon after, they are healing etc.

            The only obstacle in my path is the idea and the notion that attending medical school will be one of the most challenging and will-breaking paths, I have yet to take.

            My parents tell me that I will have to sacrifice my best years, my closest friends, the sport I have dedicated most of my life to and my time, in return for sleepless nights, sometimes even consecutive days without sleep, constant studying, cancelling plans to go out, books I am expected to know inside and out and a life with constant stress.

            I don’t think I’m ready to sacrifice so much and yet, at the same time I am ready to sacrifice everything because of my love and my passion for this profession. However, and I hope I’m not the only one, I am scared. If everything I sacrifice is in vain.

            I came across this post just tonight and I won’t lie. It scared me out of my wits. However, at the same time it challenged me. I wondered, If countless others with the passion to do this, have conquered SAT, UMAT, HSC etc, whichever exam/s you had to ace to get into a Medical School just to be faced with even harder, gruelling tasks..
            If they could…I will.

            I am thankful that you have been as honest as you could have been, sharing your experiences.

            You have given me something to expect.

            God Bless.

          • Great Article ! 95% true. remaining 5% true for some of them. btw, CJ – you have no idea about medical training, do you? docs from India don’t go to residency ‘again’. they do it here for very first time, as they come right after graduating from medical school. The same way that American graduates undergo. if American doc goes to India to practice, they also have the similar rules – exam and entrance test. Its true, ”little knowledge is more harmful than no knowledge”.

            • Just wanna point out this fact…not everyone from India goes to america right after graduation from med school…..”doing residency again” is for that group of people who choose to go to america after a post graduation degree from india(MD/MS as its called here)…

          • dude,there s a medical licencing law in most of the countries..so,u or anyone with thier medical degrees from a different country too have to appear for indian medical licence exam conducted by MCI(MEDICAL COUNCIL OF INDIA) to practice in india..and you have absolutely no idea how gruelling indian medical entrance exams are.read a little,know a little and then make opinions.

        • no its not. you have no idea what hard is if you think med school sets the bar. its tough, but so is life. life sucks for the janitor who works double shifts while going to night school to put his four kids through school. tough shit, he deals with it. being a doctor is a profession unlike any other. the guy who wrote the post is entitled to his opinion, i just disagree with it.

          • have you been to medical school? what gives you the right to say that medical school and that being a physician isn’t that tough? just curious.

      • Sad that you get a glimpse into someone’s soul and retort with… this. Would you “like it” as if its a facebook post you’ve been forced to judge if it was from the perspective of someone who is homeless or a victim of a bombing? It’s one human’s perspective of THEIR struggle – shared by thousands. Your approval isn’t needed. Your advice isn’t heeded.

        • Totally agree with you there! I completely identify with the content of this article. I am glad to know there are people out there that feel like me.

      • Couldn’t agree more… been through it and can truly say that most people inflict more pain on themselves than the system inflicts. Self-insight and personal recognition goes a long ways.

      • ” Nor do I don’t think med school is as hard as you paint it. ”

        Have you actually EVER been in a medical school yourself. Probably not.

      • I think you really know what you’re talking about, Bossom *supersarcastic* If you show up in my hospital, I will still try to take care of you

      • It is easy to think that as an outsider in the medical world that this is a self-absorbed post. But those who are the residents, only they know how hard it is to even sustain a relationship with a person who isn’t a doctor or a medical student. There are instances; not sometimes but always when you just can’t explain or pay back for all those missed times and places you had to be just because of a patient or a random test. So, please try to have an insider’s look before you judge what you have seen. 🙂

    • Hi Sir !
      I’m a “to-be-doctor” as well ! Hopefully. Though I have around 500-540 marks with a Delhi and Uttrakhand domicile. Your article is the BESTEST of all the posts I’ve ever read. You have painted the true picture, the real sacrifices and nothing but the brutal truth. It takes guts to be a doctor, a successful doctor. Though we dont know each other, im sure you’ll be amazing and we hopefully get a chance to meet 😄

  1. Splendidly written. Every part of it rings true. Every man not in our profession should be made to read this. Maybe then they will understand the situation we are in. And maybe that will make them stop laughing at us, beating us up, scorning us. Hats off to you Mrigank! 😀
    P.s. You wont even remember me, but we had done a radio-play for Umang, from Sathaye. 🙂

  2. Hello,

    This is the nearest to the truth blogpost about our profession!

    It made me ponder how working/studying conditions are the same in India and Pakistan.

    It also reminded me of a senior who died in the first week of her house job due to faulty lift in the hospital.

    This post is so painfully beautiful. I was nodding after every sentence.

    Loved every single word of it.

    Best of Luck for future!

    • I totally agree Fatima! I’m from Pakistan and I could’ve believed someone from my med school wrote this! Nodded at Everything except ‘Who know batch-mates who have.’ This, thankfully, i haven’t witnessed yet and hope i never do. Nevertheless, this pretty much sums up our entire lives. Great job, writer!

  3. You captured the essence of our lives so simply, all those thoughts that we feel so innately but suppress within us… its a beautiful piece of work!

  4. Couldn’t have put it any better. Excellent summation of what a Doctor’s life is, what we go through, the pangs of long duration of study, bureaucracy of the government and all the predicaments that we face. Wonderfully woven into words, loved your piece.

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    • I like this part the most….it is always our heart’s desire to be able to cure the sick … And we always give our best every time. But there are times when things don’t turn out the way we want them to be…and we always ask ourselves (in silence)…did I really do it right?

  6. Well, for my own sake I hope that part about not being with their loves from before medical school isn’t always true. Been with my medical student since before med school and we have only a few months before we both graduate…

    thankfully I’ve met enough doctor-lawyer pairings to not feel too worried!

  7. To you, who must have known that this would be your life, and who chose it anyway, congratulations on a life to be well-lived. Yes, there is life after medical school.

  8. Although I am not a Doctor, but after reading this article, I have started to respect and appreciate them a lot more than I did. Thanks.

  9. When become tired of being a doctor (though I doubt it very much), you might just hit it big time as a writer. Congratulations!

  10. everone should know this abt docters ..how they tried to become like to god for patients.
    …this is how a common man becums doctor
    ..gr8

  11. true, it is a sacrifice to be a doctor but if you love your work, it is not a sacrifice. we just hope that people who wants to become doctors dont have money as their only goal, but always together w/ the $, is to help cure the sick.

  12. Beautiful!!! Everything I felt and wanted to express as a doctor but not really having the talent to translate into a beautiful work of art as this.

  13. We are medical students in different countries, but our stories are practically the same. Everything you have said is my thoughts and experiences put into words, and I thank you for putting it so beautifully.

    • You’re from Philippines I take? Well not exactly the same. In india we don’t make money until very late. I just passed out. Im a foreign medical grad in india, but an Indian national. The sorrow of not even being recognised by my own country. Going through scrutiny of writing an entrance exam all over again, wait for registration for months and months, and then start an unpaid 1 year long internship with sleepless nights. I think ill be eating off my parents till I’m 30! Just an MBBS doc means squat in india!! I should have taken a job at a call centre!!

      • Late in India? Much later in the U.S.!!! Only 8 years before internship IF you are lucky, plus over $300,000.00 debt for most American M.D.s.

  14. the passion of the medical professional . . . your service is your reward – thank you (you definitely need to take more breaks)

  15. I really respect doctors. They are very dedicated, tough human beings. I know better because i was a doctor myself but have left the job. I am free spirited & my ambitions are MORE than just having life being tied down to my career as a doctor. You people are the most unselfish people & give huge contribution to the society. I travel alot and thought, well the pilots earn more than a doctor because of the responsibility they carry for the passengers’ safety…BUT a doctor has more challenging job than that – trying to make the dying back to life and heal the very sick. Salute to you all.

    • opted out because you’re free spirited with ambitions more than having your life tied down to your career as a doctor.
      good fellow!that’s the spirit!

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  17. This is a beautiful summary of every doctor’s life anywhere in the world! Aptly written and so painfully true, yet we all love being doctors and this path that we have chosen!

      • Here! Here! Spare me the melodrama people. Aren’t we all so full of ourselves! It really isn’t a bad life at all. I’d do it all over again without changing a thing.

  18. I’m still in college and currently pursuing my pre-med right now. Thanks to your beautiful post, I now have the idea on what I should brace myself for when I enter the medicine career. Thank you! 🙂

  19. Amazing read. amazingly written. you spoke my mind without disregarding even the minute of details. As if you’ve been in my mind but then again, you are us. we are you. If possible I would shower you with praises for penning this with eloquence.

  20. Reblogged this on TL;DR and commented:
    Oh to do justice to the profession. Where’s the positives? Still, pretty piece.
    “We who see the smiles upon touching a life. Who feels happiness when someone is healed.”

  21. To know and not to know is two different things,
    But to know and know how to express it is even harder!
    Love this…

  22. A life full of sacrifice ! That’s why recognised as a noble profession. Thanks for the nice article.

  23. very true… very well written..reminded of my last 9 yrs in 9 minutes… can relate to almost every sentence written… yet… i get a feeling that the mood drifts towards self pity somewhere……

  24. You must be a medical student. A resident or a staff physician would have more knowledge than to write something so ridiculous and ignorant as:

    “We who touch people slathered with stools, slime and psoriasis.”

    How can you compare stools to psoriasis? Do you actually know what psoriasis is? It is NOT an infectious skin condition. It is not gross in any sort of way. For people with psoriasis, they already endure enough stigma by ignorant people in society. That is why patients with psoriasis are so heavily affected. Not by the metabolic syndrome associated with their condition but by the way in which others treat them. For you to write that it is such a “heroic” thing for physicians to touch patients with psoriasis, is simply an ignorant statement.

    • I agree. I thought this whole post was a little self-absorbed in a “pity and admire me because I’m so selfless, heroic and magnanimous and had to give up all of my happiness to touch dregs and psoriasis” kind of way. Every profession has its pains. Being a doctor is respectable indeed, but just the way this is written borders on pretentious.

      • Completely agree!!! If I were a program director, I would not accept someone who write this piece into my program.

        • However, a lot of the other bits of writing on this blog are far better. Mainly when he’s writing about other people, rather then being self-absorbed.

        • Ahhh, Finally! A reply with some sense (not melodramatic rubbish!). 95% of the respondents here need a reality check! If you consider the job a ‘sacrifice’, kindly exit and make room for those who do it happily, with humility, and grace! Not to mention the practical advantage and the lifestyle it affords.

    • all you got out of it is psoriasis? I will like you to touch a wound oozing out pus with bare hands, unflinching, without slightest of grimace on your face. you know every doctor has been vomitted upon, got his clothed soiled in stool of some one else, and still stood there with all that dirt upon him doing his job, completing his task. Now think about how you behave when somebody coughs and a drop of sputum lands on your face.
      and talking about patients with stigma, we dont hold stigma even for the HIV ,TB,and we dont feel heroic about it. you may go and help an AIDS patient and feel heroic when we do it it just our job and we dónt feel heroic about it.’

    • Sorry, you’re missing the point.
      Which is, to us, there is nothing wrong with stools. As there is nothing wrong with psoriasis.

    • Thank you for your response. As a physician I found the article to a pretentious, self-absorbed, pathetic pity party. The responses were not much better. Yes there are sacrifices but there are also many rewards. The best thing this writer can do is choose another profession, maybe fast food?!

    • It’s called alliteration… It’s a literary device and is concerned more with tone than content. Ps, you sound fairly self-righteous yourself with this post

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    • Derek? If an American, please go ahead, an Indian?? Not so much! Young doctors are not given due respect or wage here in india.
      We are secretly social workers as young doctors here. Difficult to make ends meet on our own. We mooch off our parents till wayy tooo long. !
      Government offered wages as a junior resident is same as to what a receptionist at a spa makes here.

      • If you are doc in India go to the countryside and see the respect you get. Even a quack is treated like god.
        If money is the objective then like someone wrote join a call center or better still open a hospital and rake in money by having people take unnesscary tests and screw money out of them.

  26. I have never had anyone ever put into words what you have as to what we went thru as Doctors-To-Be. The trials and tribulations, the heart aches and the sorrow. No one can understand what it really means to be a Doctor unless you have walked in ones shoes.
    I salute you my friend and fellow Doctor. Thank you for telling it like it really is!
    Dr. Randall E. Cook, Sr.
    Retired

  27. …and they they taught that our profession its all about money, where else we are the front lines who has the biggest risk to get infection… the question i hate most is ” doctors get sick too?”

  28. Wow. Given all the praise for this piece I feel I should just add a small note of dissent.

    It really is wonderful news that any problems India has faced are now so small that we are encouraged to feel sorry of the medical students.

    “We who were always overachievers” You really could subtitle it “Pity the Privileged.” My heart bleeds for those of you with parents who are able to support you in to your twenties, it really does. I understand I am taking it out of context, and in a way you never intended, but still – the lack of perspective is gob-smacking.

    Anyway, reading through the sub-Kipling rip-off; the wallowing in self pity, the heart wrenching story of intelligent young people, training in a vocation with the most fantastic opportunities to help others, work anywhere in the world, and if you wish, earn enormous sums of money…

    When suddenly BOOM.

    “Who believe that the real problem is unregulated fertility.”

    Um, WHAT? I’m all for providing access to birth control, but what you seem to suggest here is either government regulated sex, or the forced sterilization of people you deem unworthy to procreate? That’s been tried a few times before, by nasty fascist regimes, usually alongside a program of genocide.

    And then in continues towards the end with,

    “Who must help even the dregs of society.”

    Is that a direct euphemism for the Dalits? Or is this not just untouchables, but also those who are not cursed to be “always overachievers”. Those people whose problems may stretch beyond having to wear white coats in the heat. People who have the misfortune to be sick, and in need of your skills to provide treatment?

    “We who will never tell you any of this.”

    Well, thank %deity% for that. Except on a public blog of course. But not to worry, the dregs of society probably don’t have internet access. They probably can’t read. So hopefully you’ll be able to hide the complete lack of perspective, compassion and basic humanity that your posting displays.

    • Bang On Desent !!! Being a doc myself almost all of the mates I studied with think and stink like this Blogger.One reason I chose to stay away from having friends as docs and enjoying what I do without remorse.

  29. those who are criticising this post for being ‘pretentious’ and full of self pity…its actually what that guy is feeling, we all have felt it at some point in our lives as medical students. and yes did you ever work for 48 continuous hours, with same amount of attention, knowing you cant do any mistake there even though you are sleepless for 2 nights? And your next workday starts after 4 hrs of rest! well we do and we do it every week! we do that , and we dont hate this life, we like it, we love it.. And the writer isn’t asking for pity and sympathy, we deserve apprecitation more from ourselves than others

    • Hi Dr Singh,

      Apologies for the delay in responding to your points, but (despite not being a medic) I was at work.

      I’m absolutely accept that the author is being heartfelt, and I have plenty of experience that junior doctors the world over work extremely hard.

      In answer to your direct questions, no I don’t ever work for 48 hours – I’m glad to say that would be illegal across Europe, and rightly so. It must be unhealthy for anyone who does that, not to mention in a hospital setting extremely dangerous to yourself and your patients.

      I disagree with you about the the post not being full of self pity, but that’s fine; we all complain about things in our lives. I’ve no problem with doctors, or anyone, complaining about the hours they work, the conditions they work in; all of that. What I find difficult here is the lack of empathy and perspective – and implied criticism of patients for being sick.

      There are thousands of people on this earth who struggle to get enough to eat every day, who may spend their time scavenging on huge rubbish dumps to find enough of value to sell to get some food – and while I do very little to alleviate that situation, I at least have the humility to realise that my problems are small in comparison – and not complain about hard work being required to achieve something difficult.

      The parts I find really horrible though, are where the author appears to resent his patients, to dehumanise them as the dregs of society, covered in slime. As if people have chosen to be sick, desperate and poor – just to give him a bad day. As someone who will no doubt have to visit hospitals as a patient in my life, it’s that attitude that I find revolting. Rather than stating any appreciation for the benefits the author has (intelligence, education, financial support) he instead denigrates those who don’t have these gifts and opportunities as if they chose to suffer ill health and poverty.

      Of course, if being a junior doctor is all that bad, there are plenty of options. Why not become a nurse? Or if you are trying to avoid patients, possibly pathology. Avoiding bodily fluids is harder – but possibly something like sports medicine, where the patients are all fit, healthy and probably suffer a broken limb at the worst.

      But you claim yourself to love the life, and imply the author does to. I hope you’re right.

      I’m beginning to fear that that the line about failing to recognise depression is a cry for help. Honestly he sounds utterly miserable, and the Malthusian diatribe may just be there to hide behind.

      • Ben,

        If you one day did some aid work and your residence was broken into by 3 starving people who were also drunks, swore at you, demanded you give them money as well, will you be full of the every compassion you think everyone in this world should be at 100% of the time? Or will you be a bit upset and think, gee I wish those guys had a tiny bit of respect.

        It’s an extreme example. But we are all humans. We are all selfish and need to look after ourselves a little before everything else. It’s about acknowledging to our-self that we too, are humans and are working and have a life.

        You take things way out of context. Slime and sludge poo and crap. I can call it whatever I want. It is disgusting and it is no disrespect to call shit shit.

      • joining any speciality comes later on,after passing another brutal entrance test.And yes, by law we are required to work only 8 hours, but where we work the manpower is of such shortage, and the number of patient is so huge that we have to work that long in order to keep the patients from dying (i connect with the author better because, we are from the same country, working in the same environment). And talking about depression no we are not depressed.
        we work together, 3-4 docs for whole 48 or 72 hrs cont. and we make it fun by who attended most patients, who was about screw up and who prevented it. If you will please focus on the last line, its about appreciating ourselves for what we do, and who we are.
        and about dehumanising , do you miss the fact, that these very people busy dehumanising, do all they can to make those ‘”covered in slime” one like us.

        Here in govt hospitals in India, the emergency patients are treated free of cost. Even major surgeries like Hip replacements, Whipples operation, cholecystectomy, mastectomy , intestinal obstruction, intestinal perforation, are all done free of cost, nothing is charged from the side of the hospital or doctors. The other patients pay 2 Rs. (65 Rs. = 1 dollar) for the first visit to any department, and then he will not pay for subsequent visits.

        So people who aren’t a doc,before giving any advice on humanity and professionalism, please know one thing, we do lot more than any of you for humanity in your whole life.
        And yes sick, desperate, poeple dont give us a bad, day its our job, (but this job involve much person to person interaction, and there are people who will make you smile, and there are those.whom you feel like screwing then and there). Its those patients, who come and just verbally and physically assault us, because they “thought” that they needed an immediate surgery, while the attending doctor didn’t find any reason whatsoever necessary to ring the bells for an emergency OT, there are numerous examples.

      • Thank you so much for your response. As a physician I found the writer’s article abhorrent at best. The writer is either seriously depressed and should get professional help or should not be in this professional at all. Every profession has its difficulties and certainly being a physician can be very difficult at times, but I am so honored to have been able to serve my fellow human beings. If the writer is in this for the money, and, yes it can be financially rewarding, may I suggest that there are a lot easier ways to make even more money. Writer, get over yourself or get out.

      • At varsity we learned of the term “compassion fatigue”. As a student it never happened to me, but as a junior doctor working in a third world country, I must admit, the job sometimes did seem like a burden. When you are tired, hungry, with a full bladder, and having to deal with mostly avoidable problems such as alcohol related trauma, drug induced psychoses, complications of treatment non-compliance… I did not fell the compassion expected of a doctor.

        That said, some of my peers performed at their best under these circumstances, and clearly the pressure didn’t dampen their enthusiasm or compassion.

        I may be wrong, but I think it boils down to your personality, and fortunately medicine offers such a huge variety of options, you really can choose the specialty you enjoy. For me, a highly strung, very self-critical doctor, the emergency room was too much. I was tremendously stressed, had all kinds of questions regarding humankind, faith and compassion, and thought for a long time that I chose the wrong profession. I am however so grateful that my path led to ophthalmology, a field that I truly enjoy, and where being OCD is actually an advantage!

        To the writer: I have felt like you at times, but hang in there and find your passion, you won’t look back.

  30. Honest! but your time will come where you can look back and celebrate..
    A must read for all enthusiasts who want to do MBBS 🙂

    • For those of you who claim to identify with this piece, I would love to hear more about your struggles with patient slime.

      Signed,
      A doctor with his head out of his ass

  31. The content of this piece is informed partly by his overwhelming desire to rhyme (e.g. “health” with “wealth”). The other part is his love of sibilance, which gave rise to the immortal line “stools, slime and psoriasis” (although I’d be hard-pressed to come up with a medical condition that produces slime).

    If he’s so concerned about this, maybe he ought to spend a thought for the nursing staff (underpaid, overworked and genuinely exposed to bodily fluids).

    Signed,
    A doctor with his head out of his ass

    • I prefer stuff that rhymes.

      There once was a doc from Bombay*,
      Who found he had plenty to say.
      So he wrote on his blog,
      That his like was a slog;
      Full of patients who get in his way.

      *apologies, it’s just easier to rhyme than Mumbai.

      • A limerick? Haiku would be better.

        ‘Stools and slime
        I’m hard-pressed
        to find another word beginning with S.’

        ‘I have to study and work
        Guess I’m the only one
        with a hard life.’

        ‘I’d have never imagined
        that medicine
        involves touching patients.’

        ‘I can’t ever abandon logic
        Wait a sec
        I already have.’

        ‘I have a comp
        and internet connection
        Send your pity this way.’

        ‘Listen: med students
        bear with pain
        that patients may have less of it.’

  32. I don’t think you’ll find many actual working adults, who will sympathise with the level of ‘boo-hoo’ in this piece. Sixteen-year old Tumblr surfers and avid soliloquy writers? Maybe. It may come as a surprise, but the friends and family you look at with envy and berate for having such easy lives? They have their own crosses to bear. I have a friend who started work early and now has to balance both college and work, having almost no time to herself, trying to cover her living expenses desperately by cutting corners at the smallest transaction. The fact that I would ‘only graduate when others are doing their post-graduates’ makes her envious to no end–because she wishes she at least has that luxury, rather than the hamster wheel she now has to spin day-in and out.

    Medical school is hard? Yep. The career is unforgiving? Check. You’ll shave off most of your life-years trying to add them to other people? Hell yes. Guess what? You knew this when you sent in your application to your university. If you’ve sold yourself to the white coat and stethoscope, you counted the cost and were prepared to pay it. If you grovel here and complain about fertility and rains and social inequality and then weep over your lost years, if you treat your pain and suffering as peculiar to your chosen field of study like some sort of sacred banner, if you consider patients as the cumulative sum of how much stool, slime and psoriasis they produced (hang on, did you just run out of ideas right there?), then take a good look at yourself and ask why you’re still in the game. Because I sure as hell wouldn’t want you by my bedside if I enter the hospital someday.

    Sincerely,
    A fellow medical student with his head out of his ass

    • Hey. This piece wasn’t really about the political correctness about using Psoriasis. We can save that trashing for when he goes for his skin exam. But leaving that aside, every doctor who started off knew that the going will get ugly. No doubt. But nobody likes working with dirt or slime or poop for that matter. But we do it because it is what is required for our patients to get better which is after all every doctor’s only aim. And it will slowly stop bothering us but that’s a process. Just like an MBA student gets to complain about getting five back to back assignments, or a business tycoon gets to look back and talk about all the hardships he went through, we are allowed to look back and talk about some of the stuff we didn’t like all that much to ultimately do something which we love more than ourselves. It Is never ever intended as a disrespect to our patients, our profession, our nurses who no doubt handle great deal more of unpleasant bodily fluid or any other person who has undergone extreme hardships in their life.

  33. Problem with some doctors though they become too arrogant once they graduate. I’m married to a doctor. He was on top of his class but cause we had a baby after med school instead of pursuing his residency training which frankly doesn’t pay the bills (philippines) he had to work in his dad’s business for 2 years. Now, we are a little bit more financially independent/stable so my husband decided to pursue his medicine career again. This girl who use to cheat on him during exams and wasn’t really the sharpest tool in the shed saw him and arrogantly asked,” so you’re finally going to be a doctor now?” Like what my husband did the last 2 years were insignificant because he wasn’t a doctor. Even though my husband didn’t practice, he managed to pass 2 foreign medical exams (amc and usmle). He provided for us and travelled. That girl couldn’t afford her own car but is too arrogant just because she wears a white coat. If she didn’t cheat her way to med school.. She wouldn’t be where she is now. Some doctors are not achievers. Some are ambitious cheaters who will still become doctors if they just persist in going through it all.

  34. Well put Doc. We go through a lot and often forget to take a moment to realize our impact. Too late to turn back now 🙂 We’re in this for the long haul!

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  36. It’s difficult to understand the angry backlash or overwhelming compliments in the comments. I’d like to take this piece as it is – a culmination of several bad days at office. Yes, what you have said is true, and there are miserable things in everyone’s life. You chose to write a blog about it. To your credit, it’s written well. If some people found some stuff in there politically incorrect, big deal. But that’s all there is to it. I don’t expect this to be a detailed discourse on how patients feel and how doctors fare in society and how there are others who have it worse. If someone can relate to this and say been there done that and smile thinking of it and how it’s all led to a life they live happily today, the blog serves it purpose. If a pre-med noob reads this in horror and still decides to put his head down and power through, it again serves it purpose. Vilifying the writer about the self pity a reader thinks it evokes or is at work or thinking some other points that ought to have been included… go write that on your own bloody blog.

    • himanshu,

      anyone who writes a blog is going to get comments, good, bad, indifferent. Everyone has the right to their comment, including you. If you do not like them, do not read them or follow your own advice and …”go write that on your own bloody blog”.

    • @ himanshu – the best comment on this post so far! @ the writer – simply put, your piece evoked a lot of memories – good and bad and ugly – made me think on future choices, and was altogether an engaging write-up. Well done.

  37. thank u very much for giving us an amazing write up..im a 3rd yr medical student…it was really overwhelming to read each sentence and reminding me of who i am and how we are seen among the society… yes, we are leading a totally different life than anyone but how we are going to contribute to the communitiy that matters.. hope we can continue giving something to the helping hands that need us and do the job open heartly…
    ..

  38. What conceited crap. I am a nurse and have never before read anything so arrogant and self-congratulatory. Medicine is a job. Do it. Get over it.

    • Charlie, so you are a nurse? Your statement is apparent that you are harboring an insecurity of a frustrated doctor-to-be because you didn’t even make it to enter the medical school? I feel very sorry for you dude!!! hahaha! Just do your job as a nurse and who knows, you might excel from being such, and be given an award for it?

    • I’m also a nurse,but I must say your comment was rude Charlie.
      You had better love your Nursing or you opt with this inferiority complex of yours.
      Has the writer prohibited you from writing anything you want about your profession?
      That’s why I can’t marry a male nurse;most of them don’t appreciate the dignity in the Nursing noble profession.

  39. hello there. it was a little tedious reading through most of the comments above. personally though, as a doctor just starting practice in a third world country, I can relate. regardless of what the other people say, keep on writing. cheers!

    • Dear Mrigank,
      I feel you dude. I think this is mostly the story of people in India, either during r just after MBBS. I loved the line
      ” Whose futures are thwarted by the government every step of the way’ I know exactly how that feels. What with the situation with NEET and everything now. Yet there’s still a part of me that hopes that things will look better atleast later in life . So my advice is to just keep going. Who knows you might have more good days than bad 🙂
      p.s I agree with Himanshu its your blog, your feelings, its just what it is. I wish people weren’t so judgemental about you or the “tone” of the blog etc . Everyone is entitled to their opinions about their OWN lives.
      BUT, as aperson who has lived with people suffering from psoriasis in my close family itself, you shouldn’t have added it along with slime and stools. Its nowhere near as bad as those AT ALL. As you must know its not even an infectious disease.
      Except for that i think its an excellently written piece that i identify myself completely with.

  40. Reblogged this on Little Doctors and commented:
    We often misunderstood the beauty of our profession, or let other people take us for granted. May we remember through this article what we are – and what we ought to be. We are proud and aspiring medical doctors-to-be and we are not going to stop with just dreaming. We make it happen because we are destined to be. 🙂

  41. Great piece! Detailed explanation; though may not earn you more than 60% if equated to an answer provided for a medical LAQ.

  42. Pingback: IN MY DEFENCE | Mrigank Warrier's Blog

  43. Great article, this is a much needed reminder of the sacrifices made by doctors. We can really take how lucky we are to have such exception health care for granted. Thanks for the candid honesty.

  44. Exceptional piece.
    This piece is relatable to so many medical practitioners in so many different parts of the world, and that to me speaks volumes.
    I recently went through a difficult stage with medicine this year. I felt I was losing my youth to it. I felt anguished because I saw patients being stuck in a failing public health system, and there was nothing I could do. I endured consultants pointing out all my flaws, yet still had to try and tell myself that I am good enough.
    So many more things, but they have been echoed wonderfully in this article. Sometimes we all need to know is that there are other people in the world that feel the same way we do.

  45. Thank you for putting into words what we medical students feel but yet are not eloquent enough to put into words. Shared this article with my coursemates, and at the end of it, looked at each other and agreed that this was EXACTLY how we felt.
    So thank you for putting a voice to the emotions that we never could. =)

  46. Yeah yeah yeah… We go through hell… But then again, some professions are equally tasking and even more life-threatening… And there are many many countless positives for being a doctor… Job security, Respect from everyone, The power to save lives, to save your families, The power to decide when to save and when not to save, who to save and who not to save and countless others…
    Well-written article

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  48. I agree with about 80% of what u say^^ 🙂 sounds like ur stressed n turning bitter though.. I’ve felt what u say above so I recognize possible attitudes behind it..

  49. Such a stunning reflection of life as a medico !!! Hats off! you have penned down exact feelings and events of every medical professional! Many congratulations for unmatched description of the real scenario 🙂
    If I may would just like to add this much more…
    We, many of us who are extremely brilliant in different art forms but stick to this path to serve mankind!

  50. Hey Mrigank,
    I loved how you penned down your views. Personally I don’t know where in the passage you have been self congratulatory or fascist and whoever sent those derogatory comments your way is pretty much a hypocrite in my opinion. We all, medics and non-medics crib about our jobs day in and day out. Its life, everyone has something to grumble about. Of course we know what we signed in for when we gave ourselves to a life of white-coats and stethoscopes but that doesn’t mean we cannot voice our thoughts every now and then. We are still entitled to opinions just like everyone else, its a free world out there. At the end of it all we love our jobs, we are proud of it and we are not afraid to accept the ups and downs. Its just an article (good one at that). Take it in stride.
    Mrigank, you should chin up! and pat your back your article is already viral, where some may criticize you, more have empathized and marveled at your choice of words so whether they have composed limericks/haiku, they took their time out which should already tell you how compelling your article was so Keep it up!

  51. Not all of us use amphetamines. I agree with all else but that part stings. I can’t identify with substance abuse. I hope there a lot of people who feel that way or else we should congratulate ourselves a little less for using drugs to get here.

  52. Typical of an Indian medical student who lacks the finesse of a writer due to your lack of English courses in college and appreciation of literature.

  53. ” I’ve been drenched by the amniotic fluid of a dead born baby”

    Dear Dr. Overachiever,
    I hope that mother of the dead child apologized and thanked you for your selfless dedication. I was not aware stethoscopes were so heavy or white jackets so hot. More reasons to due credit to doctors. People always say teachers don’t get enough respect for what shaping young minds or firefighters who risk life and limb to save your tastefully appointed burning home having to stand in afternoon traffic hoping you will put a dollar in his boot. But you have opened my eyes to the real problem. It’s time doctors get the recognition and praise they deserve!

  54. We who backslap, we who peruse magazines for the latest sports cars, we who have god complexes, we who think we are omniscient and omnipotent, or at least give that impression, we who value ourselves so highly that no salary can match our worth , we who swear a Hippocratic oath yet are happy to work in systems that exclude the most needy, we who resist health reform for the fear that our salaries will be reduced to a point where we can’t support our second or third homes ,we who spend our lunch breaks discussing share options …. Appreciating ourselves is the least of our problems

  55. newsflash: yours, my dear, is not the only profession where you give up yourself to serve another. prior to starting medicine, i served in americorps (proudly) and dealt with far more than anything i have seen in medical school, worked 110 hour weeks and did it because i loved the job.

    i hope you find something you love so you can stop counting up all you have lost and seeing how deeply disserved you are. i tend to doubt, with the ego i read here, that it is medicine.

  56. Pingback: Doctors Being and To Be’ | thelesoir

  57. Thank you for this wonderful read. I showed it to the doctor I am shadowing and he loved it as well. In fact, as I speak, there is copy of your work being printed and put in the clinic for everyone to read. =) Keep it coming!

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  59. My guess is that the vast majority of “We who’s” agreeing with this have never had a job outside of medicine in their life – this combined with poor introspection could make your life appear very difficult. I mean, what do you seriously have to compare it to? Working 2 dead end jobs and just scraping by to pay your bills? Probably not. I know, I know, you were in school and studying so hard that you didn’t have time to work a regular job in high school or college like everyone else.

    I remember studying for an anatomy test and listening to a classmate complain for over an hour about having no free time to do anything.

    Regarding cleaning/touching stool and body fluids with your bare hands – what? Do you know that nursing normally does this? My guess is aside from intermittent DREs, you don’t clean up anything, but instead call nursing. Be honest with yourself when you answer this.

    Hot white coats and heavy stethoscopes – that sounds terrible. Dont wear the coat with a sweater vest underneath. Get a disposable isolation stethoscope or start lifting weights, youll be able to pull thru. If your arms become too tired, find someone who isn’t a martyr to help you. This is like flavor flav complaining about how hard his life is because of that heavy necklace.

    Last to earn first salaries? Half of us drive BMWs, come on.

    Trawling playstore for med apps when other people are downloading angry birds = near death experience. I would recommend only doing this activity near the cath lab, in case something bad happens.

    We who wont ever tell you any of this? You’ve been complaining about your life for years and just posted a blog.

    This whole blog is ridiculous and teeming with sensationalized first world problems. You should be grateful for being able to have this opportunity in your life. If you feel every time you are going to work, you are making a huge sacrifice (esp on weekends, when life must apparently become more valuable), then you probably have a long “hard” life with lots of pseudo-struggling awaiting you.

  60. Thank you so much ! i was getting exhausted from endless exams and studying but you lifted my spirit up !

    Amazing article

  61. Please speak for yourself- this representation of medical training couldn’t be further the experience I’ve had throughout my medical education. I am honored to have the opportunity to care for my fellow human beings, even for the so called “dregs” of society (though I would never, ever choose this word to describe a person, let alone a suffering one). I can only hope to become worthy of my calling. I know that this will only occur by being grateful that I am in a position to make the required sacrifices, rather than by surrendering to the cynicism and self-pity that permeates the profession. Furthermore, it is completely false that one cannot maintain a relationship, start a family, and make healthy choices while becoming a physician and practicing medicine. As is the case in everyone’s life, there is hard work and sacrifice, and there is reward and enjoyment. We get to comfort the suffering and even heal the sick. We are the lucky ones. Let us never forget this.

    • amazing post. everyone who is opposing it, should go back to when they were 17 and join in a private college in india with a large free op block. then you would know what life actually is in a medical coll and how many of your own birthdays you forget. and see all the calls on your phone at 8 in the evening,and then realize it was your birthday or better yet, your mom’s birthday!

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  63. Reblogged this on everybody's gonna need a witness. and commented:
    So this just made me cry.
    It was shared on the facebook page of my year. Did I ‘like’ it? No. Because no one else had and I didn’t want to look like the ’emotional’, ‘crazy’ one who of course liked this.
    Of course I could only have liked it because yeah, we always study and pass up on stuff and hours are hard. But that’s not why I’m crying. I’m crying because of the parts about your non-med friends designating you as the busy one, and not having made friends out side of med since you started, and dating each other and talking about medicine.
    It’s not all true about me. I think I do pretty well keeping a life outside of my course. I’ve met people outside med, I go out more than I should – but of course, there it is again, “more than I should” meaning at all really, and I feel bad about it.

    I am terrified of marrying a doctor.

  64. Mrigank Warrior, well done – your writing seems to have accurately captured the general experiences of medical students. However, I wanted to make a key point. The actions you describe aren’t  intrinsically honourable. A critical aspect is the motivativation behind these sacrifices. Prestige, money, power, philanthropy..? This makes a critical difference. Without considering this, there’s a risk of seeming somewhat self-congratulatory. Indeed, humility and the ability to self-reflect are two of the most valuable qualities to be gained by medical students and doctors. Nonetheless, they are also among the rarest. In this light, it’s interesting that so much of
    your feedback has been positive. 

    Just a thought.

  65. heart-wrenching…

    nope, never done a “doctor’s” course…
    yup, have a fair idea of what it takes… and what it takes out…
    salut, Mrigank… to you… and to all the other followers-in-the-footsteps-of-Hippocrates… before and after you…

    and i hope you will always find time to continue writing, man… cos you are bloody good at it!

  66. I read your blog for the first time today….. lovely, capture thoughts beautifully… yet …………underlying that is a

  67. It should also read –
    We who depend on the grace of family and loved ones to pardon our self indulgent obsessions, who care about us despite the fact that we are sometimes shitty friends and partners.

  68. Sounds to me like you’re begging people to start a pitty party for you. God has blessed you with a brain capable of becoming a doctor. You have the greatest honor in the world by someone entrusting you with their life. You will have the utmost respect from nearly everyone in our society simply because of the letters in front of your name. No matter what the government does you will have more than enough to live extremely comfortably. Certainly you go through a lot of trials and tribulations along the road but it’s the path YOU (and I) chose. Be happy with it, be humbled by it, be honored by it, consider yourself blessed for the opportunity, but please don’t ask people to feel sorry for you because of it!

    • Not sure what society you call home, but in my little corner of America, doctors are viewed with skepticism, envy and dislike (if not outright hatred). The days when doctors were respected in America are long-since-gone. We are viewed now as lottery tickets: any mistake, or even just the perception thereof, can potentially lead to a cash windfall thanks to the litigious, “I gotta get mine” mentality. I think this person was just expressing the frustrations that we have all felt at one time or another. I don’t think it means he is sitting in a corner, sucking his thumb, waiting on people to line up and give him hugs.

  69. Classic med student pity party. You need to shed this woe-is-me mentality. It will earn you nothing but derision from every angle as you continue your career.

  70. Matthew 6:1“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

  71. I couldn’t have put it down better. We are a cohort of human beings who strive everyday to be more than human. Without asking to be recognized. But we are also people of a clear conscience. Who go to sleep every night knowing that they tried their best. I hope every doctor finds his/her reason to be in the work they do, day in and day out. I hope we keep our passion alive.
    Wish you the best in life.

  72. This piece is profoundly disappointing. I gather the writer is a medical student or intern, because no seasoned resident or attending would be this self-absorbed. Yes, being a doctor is hard work and often frustrating and thankless… but it is a privilege to care for people in their most vulnerable states. You’d do well to remember that when they pull the nails out of your hands.

    • Thank you , Anna. I couldn’t agree more. I have been a physician for over 30 years. Each day, I find it an honor and a privilege to care for others, and thank the creator for giving me the skills I have.

    • hahahaha yes!! the world needs more harlequin romances, or at least less melodramatic socially awkward pre-meds dealing with patients

  73. I think a lot of people are taking this article too literally. I personally think that medical school is an experience and there are going to be both highs and lows. I feel like the writer was expressing his or her own thoughts. If you want people to listen to your opinion then you should be respectful of theirs. No one asked you to agree to anything. r. What I got from this article is that doctors are pretty cool people. That they are determined and disciplined and that they go through a lot so that they can do what they love. If you are a doctor or gonna be one then, I think you should know that you are gonna be dealing with a lot of stuff that is knew, and weird, and kind of gross at times but, at the end of the day you HELP people. You play an importanat role in their life. Stop making dumb arguments and calling each-other mean and cruel names. We are all better than that.

  74. This was awful. Yes we go through a lot of training to become doctors, but we should feel privileged to have the opportunity to go through med school, get our MDs, and help people in this way. The minute we start feeling sorry for ourselves, is the minute we forget what we’re doing this for and become jaded. This article shouldn’t be an ode to ourselves, but rather a tribute to all those who have helped and will continue to support us along the way….

  75. I am the spouse of a 3rd year resident and I am a marriage and family therapist. My wife started med-school 1 month after we got married. The debt and relational sacrifices we deal with can be overwhelming at times. I have been by her side supporting her and cheering her on through the struggles of this training process every step of the way and I feel that most of this blog hits home. If it seems a bit heavy handed just get over it, because affirmation is air for the burnt out, overworked, self-doubting medical student and resident, but it is dispensed in short supply by those who are in a position to give it. In the dark hours when she feels like giving up and that she is a terrible doctor I offer her a hot meal, a warm embrace and a word of encouragement saying, “you’re an amazing doctor,” but there is little observable relief in this. I sit with my wife through the tears, the anger and the frustration, but all of the time I spend absorbing the emotional ups and downs do little to restore the life that has been sapped out of her through what she describes as “the hamster wheel.” So you’ll understand why it’s a little frustrating for me when a passing “nice job” from an upper-level a couple of times a year re-energizes her and restores her sense of purpose, giving her a new perspective and making the struggle worth it (for a day or two). Why can’t I experience this kind of connection with my wife after dedicating so much of myself to support her? Why can’t I see her countenance change with a simple word of encouragement? They grind every ounce of energy and confidence out of my her. They squeeze the very best out of her and send her home to me to recover from the physical and emotional exhaustion (thank God for vacations). The way I see it, those on the inside of this increasingly competitive and corrosive medical education system are suffocating and they need more support and inspiration so they can breath easy and maintain healthy connections outside of the hospital while becoming the best doctors they can be. It is evident in the U.S. and in a lot of the comments in this thread that disdain for doctors comes from inside and outside of the profession. Understanding the power of just a small word of affirmation *from within* I think it is incumbent on every upper-level to be a little more free with it. They owe it to me, to my wife and to the profession. Also, understanding that every med-student/resident will one day be in the position to affirm, why not start doing it now? Give what you want to get. Thanks for this blog post. Keep supporting your colleagues because it can get ugly out there.

  76. As a doctor who is working in a developing country I can relate to your sense of frustration. At the same time I felt very uncomfortable with the way you seem to have glorified the profession. It’s misguided to think of ourselves as martyrs or demi-gods. We’re just human beings and in my opinion our struggles in life are not particulary special.

  77. Our struggles are not something to be glorified because most of us choose to do this ourselves. I don’t think of myself as better than someone else because I study medicine, but seriously there is way too much hating here. This wasn’t written to glorify physicians but was written for other MD’s/ students to have something to associate with when they are down. Also, if you have never been to medical school please do not pretend like you have any idea of how hard it is. The majority of us study 12-14 hours every single day including weekends because we know that we have to be at our best to protect and provide health to many people (some of you in here hating on MD’s). If you live in a country where medical school is free and shorter, please keep your comments to yourself as well. The average student in the US graduates with 250,000 $+ in debt, and do not compare your systems to ours. There is a reason why people fly to america for medical attention and some other countries. So stop judging us because of some sort of subconscious envy. You don’t see us going to plumbersanonymous.com spreading hate about your profession.

  78. “Who learn about depression but fail to recognise it in ourselves.”

    This best defines a lot of ours psychology. Too good and a word from someone who has moved out of the core profession – The guilt never dies. The satisfaction never comes. You struggle n thrive in your new profession but then you never get the respect that you get so easily addicted to. Its a struggle this way or that.

    • You sound like a poor peasant who grew up in the ghetto without a father and a home more broken than a glass jar dropped from 5,000 feet. For fuck’s sake you have a good job and are in total control of your life. Suck it up and quit complaining.

  79. Yes,we…we who are special for all these reasons exactly! This is amazing,as I pick up my books and study…time? 23:55

  80. This is a well written piece.It is some of the author’s experiences and fears & feelings,sometimes.People writing to criticize this have no understanding of art or literature.They are merely trained,they are not well educated.They continue to expose their incapacity to understand the arts.Only the author can tell you how something made him feel,it is neither right nor wrong,its feelings which she has the courage and talent to express.You need to be sophisticated to appreciate this. I think some acquaintance with the arts & humanities will help some appreciate this work.Its like asking R Kelly what he means by he believes he can fly.

  81. This is fantastic, and I can relate. It is really unfortunate that an individual cannot express how he/she feels without such backlash. The negative views on physicians contribute to our high rates of depression. After all the sacrifices we make, and there are plenty, we don’t expect awards or recognition, but just some minor level of respect from adults. And by this, I mean the minimal respect any individual gets most days, a bank teller, a mailman, cashier. People are different when they are sick, they are at their worst, their crankiest, meanest, on some level, I do understand and expect that. But, what I mean is, don’t spit on me because I drew your blood and it hurt, or throw a towel at me because you were sleeping and didn’t want anyone to disturb you, or get so angry that you didn’t get ice right away that you yell at me, I promise you, I am not ignoring your request, during that time, another patient of mine was crashing and needed to get intubated. In a hospital, there are certain inconveniences that patients have to go through to improve health. People think doctors’ lives are like Gray’s Anatomy or House, far from it.

    Just from my personal experience, there was a death in my immediate family recently, and while other family members easily got time off, vacation, compassion from their bosses and flexibility, I had none of that. I was on call practically every Sat or Sunday for a year, and in that one day off a week, drove and took care of a dying family member. And, although I took my saved vacation for the death, and didn’t take much time off, when I returned, people were annoyed and mad that my time off had to be covered by others and it was inconvenient. There’s no support or care anywhere. The job doesn’t care about you, you are just their workhorse. You are supposed to be perfect, never make a single mistake, no matter what is going on. Your family is disappointed because they feel you weren’t there and you prioritize your career. Then, you have the guilt. The guilt of not being there for your family, the guilt that your spouse feels he/she can’t depend on you during a crisis, guilt of ignoring all your friends because between work and family, there is no more time for anyone else, guilt that you were having a bad day and made a small error at work, and now, you can’t sleep the whole night thinking about it. Welcome to our lives. We don’t all get paid a ton of money. Those salaries you see posted on websites are not accurate, and just because you know so and so makes this much does not mean all of us do. Not EVERY doctor makes a Neurosurgeon salary and not all Neurosurgeons make those high numbers you see on the internet. And do I think Neurosurgeons deserve that money? Absolutely! If someone is operating on a brain and saving my dad’s life, yes, that to me is worth every penny. So while Lebron James, Brad Pitt and Kim Kardashian are making $20 million and more, I am sorry that a doctor salary of $100K (pediatricians) to maybe $500K (Neurosurgeons) is way too much. I guess saving lives and returning you to good health so your daughters, sons, friends, moms and dads can spend many years with you is just not worth us getting paid. I guess Lebron shooting a basketball or Kim complaining about how her Versace dress didn’t get to her home on time is worth paying for.

  82. Also, for all of you who say “well, you knew what you were getting into, you should accept your decisions”. Just a quick perspective. How many of us knew EXACTLY what we wanted at the age of 19?? Yes, 19! At 19, that is when most people decide they want to be doctors. That’s the first year of college when you are expected to take Biology, Chemistry, and net year, the remainder pre-med courses. You take the MCAT by 21. Please introduce me to 19-21 years old college students who know exactly what they want for the rest of their lives and know exactly what their life decisions entail. I’d love to meet them. And once we get into med school and start by the age of 22-23, our loans have skyrocketed, and we are stuck.

    • This blog concerns me deeply. As a physician of over 30 years, I see more and more arrogance and cynicism among the young med school grads. Yet, when I read applications to the medical school on whose admissions board I serve, these young people portray themselves as humble, dedicated to serving without judgement , without hubris, the world, both the well healed and the shoeless, the wealthy and the poor. What happened in those four years? Or were those carefully crafted personal statements merely purchased from a professional personal statement writer??

      This is what I know. I was raised in a middle class household from a middle class Midwest city. I worked fast food, cleaned houses, tutored undergrads and high school students, and studied day and night to get into medical school. I was honored to be accepted. And , like all of you, worked long , hard hours, many years before the residency limit on work weeks was started. And as I age I still look back and know that it is still an honor, and a privilege to be a physician. An honor to be able to able to care for the most vulnerable in our society. And a duty to give back to the world.
      I hope that when I am frail , elderly and vulnerable, I do not have this author caring for me.

      For those of you who doubt this, quit now and become a banker.

    • Dear tiredofmed,
      I would sign my name under your post any second 🙂 Everything you have said I have thought about as well. I do feel many doctors are stuck due to loans unfortunately…otherwise they would have switched to a different path mainly due to exhaustion and a lack of “normal” family life…

      all the best

  83. As a young doctor, married to a doctor, I can relate to every single sentence! I have studied/worked in the US, Canada, United Kingdom and few other European countries. I would especially accentuate the points being made that we do feel guilty when we do not know something, we do sacrifice the best years of our life, we do have difficulties with maintaining relationships, we do have children later than most people, our friends know that we are either always studying, always writing exams or always at the hospital. This piece is not about self-praise, it is about stepping down from time to time from self-criticism and desire for self-growth and just saying to yourself : “I have done enough” !

    I believe that people who can most relate to this are the ones who attend/attended either American/Canadian/ International school based on an American program…simply because expectations of medical students/doctors are extremely high…ie. 30 + hour shifts as a medical student in Trauma rotation (Chicago, Il) might be familiar to some of you… 🙂
    Those who are criticizing this article are :
    A. either not in a medical profession
    B. elderly doctors who lived in N. America and needed 2 years of Bachelor’s degree to get into medical school and who lived in the times where family life was actually valued
    C. studying/working in the countries who fully value family life & allow students some slack- to skip weeks upon weeks of rotations (I do have doctor friends who have never attended any OB/GYN rotations because they lived in countries where women would not allow male physicians to examine them ). There are med schools that allow students to skip weeks upon weeks of orthopedics or dermatology just so students can study for other courses or write exams…

    Thank you for such a nice article!!

    Big applause to all the doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, nursing aids, clerks !

    Big thank you to all the patient and kind Mothers of medical students/ doctors who have experienced every stone on this long road together with us and sacrificed so much so that we can sacrifice our time and strength to help many many people !

    God bless !

    • Hey Angelique – YOU SUCK!!! Get a grip on reality and get your over-educated, pompous head out of your ass. Those who you call “elderly doctors” have laid the foundation for the ground you walk on. Be thankful for your seniors instead of pumping your too-big-to-fit-through-the-door head even bigger. Wipe that shit-eating arrogant grin off your face and do your job like everyone else does.

  84. Why are you trying so hard to glorify medicine? I’m a doctor. We don’t draw blood. Nurses do. They do the real hard work. You’re full of ego man. And that makes you a total loser.

  85. Well-written and thought – provoking – thank you! In South Africa Medical students receive a MB ChB after their studies – a qualification in Medicine AND a qualification in Chirurgy. In the Netherlands USA etc they may only do chirurgical procedures if they “specialise” after their initial qualification. Yet they are known as MD ‘s – medical doctors. The SA medical students have a very tough training – academically as well as the THREE years afterwards working for the state. Thirty years ago they had ONE internship year!
    I know all about the despair and sadness when a patient doesn’t get well after everything was done for him/her, the frustration over the system, state patients especially who should have reported on time, but only pitch when it is almost too late.
    Hats off to every student who completes training, and especially to those who complete the 3 years working for the state afterwards, and not losing hope and their health in the process!

  86. Tremendous response from all readers, seems to have touched everyone’s feelings.I think one should cut some slack in a personal sense; the author has clearly said the blog is “about Me” rather than any great truth about a profession. One senses a young person gradually coming to experience first-hand the grit and grime, the hardship that is also the real underbelly of life and learning to assimilate it into some sense of a world-view that goes to become an important developmental task of any doctor. The outcome is only going to be greater and informed compassion for life and people and participating in a humane calling. I do not think the author is trying to give himself a sense of inordinate importance or being self-indulgent, I do not feel he is complaining about his lot in life, he is merely giving voice to lived experience. Equally he will learn that the medical profession is perceived in complex ways from within and without, not all of which is either admiring or well-informed, but also driven by broader sociological and ideological trends. So some good may be derived from all the critical comments as well. His follow-up blog post is heartening in this regard.

  87. I’m a third-year American medical student. Doctors who believe this shit need to grow up and realize it’s not about you. There are no hurdles, there are only blessed tasks and things we do because we love the craft.
    This is too self-indulgent, too masturbatory to be useful; too self-congratulating and self-glorifying. A real doctor understands he or she is a servant, in the service of mankind. I pray that the doctors who read this realize the pitfalls of pride and remain humble, human and serving. Only then will they be effective healers and physicians.

    • I can’t believe how self-absorbed this post is as well as most of the comments. I’m a 4th year med student, and I gagged reading this.

      I hope you guys don’t dislocate your shoulders patting yourselves on the back.

  88. We who need to get over ourselves?

    I’m a doctor. Becoming a doctor can be hard. Being a doctor can be hard. A lot of jobs are hard. I don’t see a lot of people in those other jobs writing poems or lyrical odes to themselves and their brethren, but I see other doctors doing this all the time, and it always make me cringe. I can’t imagine the amount of eye rolling this produces in our patients, who probably appreciate the hard work you do, but probably don’t appreciate forking over large sums of their hard-earned money to allow you do the hard work you do. And spare me the inevitable response pointing out how little of that money we actually see. We’re still doing pretty well compared to most of our patients.

    You can’t write stuff like this without it sounding to other people that doctors think they’re better than everyone else. Let’s stop praising ourselves, continue to do good work, and let our patients do the praising on our behalf.

  89. I’m a surgeon who spent 3 years in graduate school prior to medical school and five years of training( 25 years ago when house officers really worked). I love what I do because I can use my love of science and help others. I wouldn’t do anything else. It was time consuming, but there is much to learn. But I don’t find your treatise inspiring , in fact it sounds pretty whiney and it certainly does not come close to my experiences . Man up, put in the time( we all did, and at a time when putting in time really putting in time, not shift work as house officers do now) and go out and earn people’s respect with your skill and compassion, not because you passed some sort of endurance test.

    • I would just like to point out that you are a hypocrite. You pass judgement on the article, but look at your own response, “But I don’t find your treatise inspiring , in fact it sounds pretty whiney and it certainly does not come close to my experiences”.

      Don’t be to literal to think he was writing about you. Jack off.

  90. It is entirely self gratifying. I am in the medical field, in the United States and see it as obnoxious, self serving and ultimately a woe is me outlook to what should have been a passion, drive or desire. If that’s the way you see it, grow up and get out. We do not need you, really we don’t.
    Maybe you do need to take a min and look at the sacrifice you have made, but to put it so effing melodramatically is ridiculous. It is not poetic, it is plain obnoxious. Think about the people who do what you do, an more with a smile in their face and still make it to a family dinner. It is possible.

  91. very well written and absolutely true. being a med student myself, I know that this is hardly glorifying ourselves. esp the part where u say that we always feel guilty of knowing less than we should. kudos!

  92. You are so far out of touch with reality it’s unbelievable. Remember you are God’s gift to no one and don’t act like it. You’re the prime example of giving doctors a terrible reputation. Get your head out of your ass and start contributing to society in a humble, passionate way. Appreciate my cock, asshole.

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  94. Amazing article! Docs do need to write stuff like this once in a while. And as a medical student, i can totally relate to the first few paragraphs.

  95. Why should this be controversial?
    All hard working people who give back to society should pat themselves on the back, and its appropriate to acknowledge the greater upfront sacrifice of doctors versus other higher-education driven professions.
    All you haters, feel free to write a piece acknowledging the sacrifice and value in your own professions. But no need to denigrate this nice piece

  96. Oh My God……..this is the best post I’ve ever read………….All the doctors: Hats off to you! I know being a doctor is respectable yet troublesome because of low salaries and with a commitment to never make any mistakes. I mean, how is a human supposed to stay guilt free?
    Great post. Congratulations.

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  98. Im speechless. Can a Doctor be described any better..
    My husband is a Doctor. Posted into a remote tribal village. we are just 8 months into our marriage and all I know is I have married a doctor who struggles to be a good husband. Night duties, emergencies, phone calls from ICU at 2 o clock, no holidays, “unethical-to -leave-a dying man-and enjoy life- although its not my shift-feelings”…, no time to study for PG, and ofcoz d same question-“will you ever make it to PG”…
    Can I blame him or cooperate asking him not to be guilty for being a Doctor and struggling to be everything else.
    just touched, beyond tears..

  99. All the people, or, supposed physicians, who say this is deceitful and self-boasting can go fuck yourselves. This is my 2nd year out of medical school, i have 350k of debt i have to pay back, I am 28years old. While my friends are married, have a kid or 2, or have bought houses, I STILL LIVE AT FUCKING HOME TO SAVE MONEY to move out. And yes, we DID sacrifice the best of our youth to help better the lives of man kind (and you ignorant douches as well). While my friends were partying, working, saving money, i was racking up debt, studying, etc. Any physician who’s gone through residency has stuck their fingers in someone’s ass and pulled it out with shit on it (wearing a glove of course) and every physician has put in the long hours, has been super pimped and felt like shit. and YES we DO struggle and compete to specialize. Do you know how hard it is to get a pediatric surgical fellowship? there are like <50 spots in the NATION. So its cool to bash on us.. Haters gone hate.

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  102. i am a doctor too and most of what you say is bang on.so much that you have voiced many of my unspoken thoughts exactly, from trivialities to all the angst and frustration. i think you can be forgiven for the self-righteousness that came in, it seems to come from the right place,and not from arrogance or self-pity like a lot of commenters seem to believe.political incorrectness yes..but there is such a thing as artistic license.and after all it is a blog,your blog,your opinions,not some dictatorial decree that has to be followed! cheers and never mind your detractors.although some of them are unbelievable.. its like they’re saying work hard and make all the sacrifices but be humble about it because you chose this, and don’t ever appreciate yourselves!bah.appreciating oneself or talking about one’s experiences and feelings that coloured them does NOT equal disrespect or disregard to patients. there may be doctors who haven’t/don’t put in half the effort but i know from fact that they are a small minority.most of us have toiled, broken our spirits and our hearts, trying our best to save a life in time or change situations that we knew were hopeless from the start.why should talking about it make it any less sincere or less intense than it was/is? even if we knew what we were going in for? and to the ‘older generation’ doctors who seem to think that hard work and sincerity were their prerogatives exclusively, i can only say that human casualties and emergencies are just as bad as they’ve always been..and we lot work just as hard as you lot did!(er. i hadn’t meant to get carried away..)
    in parting- thank you for writing this,on behalf of many of us who have felt similarly but lack the time/inclination/articulation to write such a piece as this:)

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