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Kids nowadays…

Posted Feb 11 2011 9:15am
An obvious part of our DNB training program are regular seminars, case presentations and journal club activities etc. By rotation, this takes up two days in the five-day week (Saturdays are half days). Until a couple of months back as Chief resident, it was my job to delegate topics, cases and such to my colleagues and juniors and keep after to them to make sure the presentations occur as planned. I was directly answerable to the Head if a particular person was not prepped and in his /her stance, I would have to do an extempore discussion. I always had multiple random presentations ready and set to go on my Flash drive under such unfortunate circumstances.

But since the last couple of months my successor at the co-ordination level has not been able to keep up the job. And neither was he prepared to give extempore orations. So we have been having a highly irregular PG activity schedule off late.

Until last week, when the Boss lady gave us all a good dressing down and promised to give us term extensions (meaning Delayed completion certificates on the various disciplines) if we did not stick to the schedule as planned.

Fortunately, however the four final year residents have been exempted from doing the presentations, but we still have to sit on them though. This week it was the turn of first year resident to do a PowerPoint on 'Aplastic anemia and recent advances in therapy.'

First, let me say how well I appreciate the poor general condition of a first year resident, - always sleep deprived, hungry, irritable, tired, exhausted. They pretty much work on the spinal level – in reflexive movements and actions. No time to actually exercise the ticker Gray matter to study and learn new things.

I've been there, done that, so I get it.

So I am very supportive of my first year residents when they are up on the mike, usually taking the questions from the consultants and not firing any myself.

So this chappie, was on call the previous day and was totally strung out. So when I reminded him that he was up the next day for Aplastic anemia, it took him a full minute to realize what I was saying.

'Shit…. I forgot.' A vacant, downcast expression followed.

Pitying the poor fellow, I got someone to cover for him for a couple of hours that night, so he could at least read up a bit.

Next day, at the appointed hour (usually 3.30 pm after a dizzying OPD of a couple of hundred of patients when all the mind screams for is fresh air and some coffee...) we gathered in the conference room.

He started off, and started off well… his slides were good (I was surprised he got any made!).But as he spoke and gestured to the slides, I realized he was just mouthing off what was already mentioned on the slides… except paraphrasing. And the slides seemed disjoint and unhinged. And he was not able to connect the series of slides together and couldn't elaborate any of the advanced stuff on the slides – like genetic correlations, clonal features etc.

I looked around to see if anyone else noticed. A few vacant expressions, a few open-eyed sleepers (all doctors are good at that!) and very few who were actually listing. But no one had the quizzical expression I did… 'Well… maybe they all want to cut the guy some slack'… I thought.

Then came the boomerang… he went on to a case study, pretty elaborately worked up…. it was a good case. But not from our hospital. Ours being a closed populace we all knew the rare cases like Aplastic anemia and such who were regulars in the OPD and the wards.

This case of a 27 yr old male… as the idiot rattled off…. raised a few eyebrows. A consultant even turned to me and mouthed 'Our patient?' I nodded in the negative.

I was on to him, by then, I knew what he had done….

But he gave himself stupidly away, when he came to a slide that read

'The patient was referred to London for second opinion and treated with Eculizumab the cost of which 250K £ per annum'.


Eculizumab is not yet available in India.

But how thick skulled must he be to present the case as it was… or did he think the audience was thick skulled or what….

I was angry, amused and indignant all at once. Back 'in the good ol days' we made presentations we made them from scratch, referring multiple textbooks, the internet was only a source of reference and pictures.

Fortunately, for him even if everyone had noticed no one said anything, everyone was too tired to care I suppose. So he got away with it. I did some online research myself and found the whole slide show as it was, except with the background changed and the difficult charts and graphs deleted.

Has this what its come down to… using the internet thus….

I asked around and apparently its quite a common thing. There are whole websites that give out readymade essays and presentations. Even primary school kids with internet know how can come up with the perfect essay.

Ridiculous…. Disgusting….

Later that day, he texted me, thanking me for giving him the two hours so he could 'Prepare' the presentation…

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