Mar 04

The Great Pretender.

Tag: Thrilling InstallmentKal @ 11:15 am

The cinema is deserted when we walk in, just a girl lying on the steps in the centre aisle, Cubics the RRU Paramedic crouching by her, a huddle of concerned friends and a young man looming over the lot of them.

I head up the stairs and, before Cubics can start his handover, the standing man is in my face.

“I’m one of the doctors at A&E.”

Look him up and down. Don’t recognise him.


“It’s a simple enough case for you, this is a female who’s suffered a vaso-vagal episode.”

He pauses while I stared dumbfounded at him, Cubics grinning from ear to ear at his back, not bothering to approach with a handover but instead sitting back and letting the fun develop.

“That’s a faint,” he continues, misinterpreting my stunned silence as incomprehension.

“Yes. Thankyou.”

I brush past him and join Cubics at the patient’s side, he tells me she has a history of fainting, that her blood pressure bottoms out a few times a week and she was under investigation for the same.

“Can she sit up?”

“Nup. We’ve tried, she decks out when she raises her head.”

“Fair enough, let’s say we pull the trolley to the bottom of the stairs and scoop her onto it?”

Simple enough manoevure, keep the patient flat and lift her without having her sit up.

Keep ‘em conscious, that’s my motto.

The young doctor interrupts.

“I don’t think she’s a resus case.”

“Ummm. No, I would agree with you there.”

“But you’re absolutely right, scoop and run, scoop and run.”

Cubics is beginning to turn purple, turns his head and stuffs fingers into his mouth to suppress the magma flow of laughter that’s rising, this boy’s been watching too many episodes of “Real Rescues”. ‘Scoop and Run’ indeed. We’re not in a Paris underpass, nobody’s dying.

I let him off the hook.

“Actually, Doc, we were discussing her extrication.”

He doesn’t even have the grace to look embarassed.

We stand in silence, the doctor loitering at the edges of our ensemble while we wait for my colleague to bring the trolley up. Cubics sets him free.

“You know, Doc, you can go ahead and clear. We can handle this.”

He looks at the two of us.

“Are you sure?”

The magma grumbles higher in my throat.

Am I sure? Am I sure I can handle a faint?

A career ending comment is forthcoming, but Cubics cuts in fast.

“We’ll be fine, thankyou.”

He stands, brushes his knees down.

I’m fucked if I’m letting him away with this.

“Before you go, Doctor, may I have your name?”

He hesitates.

“For the paperwork…you understand, since you were on scene?”

“Oh…yes…of course…it’s Anderson.”

There’s a beat, I raise my eyebrows.

“Does anything come before Anderson?”

He frowns at me.

Doctor Anderson.”

Cubics lets out a snort, turns it into a cough. I stare at Doctor Anderson as though he’s a puppy that’s pissed in my cornflakes.

“And does anything come between those two words?”


I stick my hand out, aggressively friendly.

“Sam, lovely to meet you, Sam, I’m Kal.”

He shuffles off into the backgroud, we transport the patient.

In A&E I find a registrar and quiz her.

“Do you have a Doctor Sam Anderson working here?”

She sighs, lays her head on the desk.

“We have a student Sam Anderson here, yes. What’s he done now?”

I tell her the story, she agrees to discuss “Respecting your colleagues in their specific field.”

We leave on better terms than Sam and I.

28 Responses to “The Great Pretender.”

  1. Mike says:

    Aw, bless.


  2. Mrs Mac says:

    Name’s have been changed to protect the numpties?!?


  3. Chilimuffin says:

    aww, bless his lil’ heart.

    If any of my classmates pulled this, the ER would hand our asses to us on a rusty tin platter, with spikes in it.

    Which is to say, there’s one in every class.


  4. Sewmouse says:

    With all due respect to the Medical Profession in general, I find the arrogant insistance on “DOCTOR” to be as off-putting as the arrogant insistance on “REVEREND” by the religious profession.

    Great – so they decided to waste their parent’s retirement fund to go to medical school for 12 years. I’m unimpressed. I bet they can’t even balance their checkbooks without a CPA or make ice cubes without a recipie.


    I do so hope that your registrar friend gets his attitude properly adjusted!


  5. Mike says:

    DOCTOR is in most cases an honourific. They only become real Doctors when they get their MD or equivalent.
    In the young man’s defence; the first thing that student medics get taught is ARROGANCE. There is a good reason for that; if a human life depends on your knowledge and actions, you need to feel pretty fucking sure of yourself.
    Kal and his colleagues will know what I mean.
    Give the young guy a break eh? He will need ALL of his arrogance to survive the next few years.


  6. Win-Stone says:

    The problem is not that arrogance gets taught – it’s that people in that position are NOT taught how not to be total dicks………… and, as we all know, it is a very fine dividing line between being an arrogant twerp and being a total dick.

    However, part of the problem is that the of jobs which, ultimately, mean that the continuance of human life depends on you getting it right, numbers more than most people can possibly imagine – right up until they actually stop and think about it, at which point you realise that it runs into the hundreds. And too many never actually stop and think about it.


  7. Special K says:

    I stare at Doctor Anderson as though he’s a puppy that’s pissed in my cornflakes.



  8. Fee says:

    “What’s he done now?” You just knew he was in for a talking to at that point, eh?


  9. Sarah says:

    The registrar laying her head on the desk is such a perfectly telling moment.


  10. Siobhan says:

    Hahahahahahhaaa that is so bloody funny! Reminds me of the jumped up ‘something to prove’ SHOs who think cos they are ‘DOCTORS’ they know more about obstetrics in their first 6 months than a midwife qualified since they were born!!


  11. Timothy says:

    Isn’t it illegal in Scotland to pass yourself off as a registered medical practitioner when you’re not?


  12. MiniDoc says:

    I really disagree with Mike. Doctors don’t need arrogance to survive. I think arrogant doctors are really unhelpful as they don’t listen to any suggestions so they are the most dangerous. You need to self assured but only if you know your stuff. If this guy was my student I’d murder him; idiotic, dangerous little twerp.


  13. RapidResponseDoc says:

    I agree completely with MiniDoc. This Med Student should be kicked in the nuts. He has the audacity to a) lie about being a doctor, b) try and tell a paramedic how to do his job and c) act like the complete dickhead he is. He is an embarrassment to the medical profession, as well as to himself. Hopefully, Cubics and Kal won’t think all doctors are arseholes, but I wouldn’t blame them if they did, after that display of arrogance, matched only by the display of ignorance.

    Excellent writing, as always, Kal…


  14. Lucy says:

    Ha ha ha. Twerps in every profession!


  15. David says:

    If it was the med school I think, I expect him to have a GMC hearing followed by a taste of unemployment then. My Med School would.


  16. David says:

    Med schools take from public schools which teach arrogance into their pupils. This is the basis of the problem.


  17. Cath says:

    LOL! Wonderful! A couple of weeks as a nurse’s assistant at a nursing home should teach him something, methinks :-D


  18. PA State Cop says:

    You say the magic words on my scene and touch the patient, you ride in with them. The highest level of training/credential is responsible once you have provided care. I have have Docs stop and help, I have also had them be a dick. Guess what, out here I am God. You do what I say or we will have a come to Jesus meeting.


  19. Becki says:

    Hahaha, brilliant. I agree with Minidoc – Doctors don’t need to be arrogant to be competent or authoritative. My med school would murder me for pretending I was qualified. Fantastic use of the word ‘Twerp’!


  20. ElectricBlue says:

    On the flip side, someone with some years of actual doctoring behind him once introduced himself to me as *Professor* Whatever. he really held this title. He was still pants and kept over-ruling us… I nearly put my head through the windscreen in frustration!


  21. Chuckles48 says:

    God bless, Kal! You always bring a smile to my face. ;>


  22. RapidResponseDoc says:

    I tried to leave a comment earlier, but I think my expletives were too great even for Kal! So, a precis – this guy is an embarrassment, both to himself and to the medical profession. I just hope that he doesn’t sour too many people to prehospital docs, who often will be more than happy to let the experts decide what they need from us…

    Great writing, by the way – hits the spot every time!


  23. Mike says:

    ElectricBlue, your patient, your TOTAL responsibility.
    The magic words “Shut the fuck up” should be used in that situation.
    You can, of course, apologise later, if you must.


  24. Piper says:

    When I lived and worked in Amsterdam, the med students did a 12 week rotation onto a ward working as a nursing auxiliary. They weren’t perfect (surgeons will out) but they were a damn site nicer than the HO/SHOs in this country.


  25. R says:

    In my thankfully few encounters with this type of person (full disclosure- none of them were related to the medical profession; there are arrogant twerps everywhere) I have found that remaining utterly professional (whilst your partner or whatever fairly obviously attempts to stifle hysterical laughter), and then bursting into insultingly loud gales of merriment once the offending individual is almost, but not quite, out of hearing range, to be a fairly pleasing response to utterly bad behavior.


  26. Trooper says:

    Great stuff Kal. Thanks for the smile :)
    And David, I go to a public school – we’re not all twerps taught to think ourselves so mighty we have rods up our arses! We are normal people – give us a chance :(


  27. drunkenspaniel says:

    Ah, with the benefit of hindsight, wouldn’t it have been lovely to have said “Right, Doc – you’ve got a handle on this – what’s then plan?”.
    And see what he did next….

    Of course, you couldn’t, because lives may then have been at risk, but we can dream!


  28. Charbob88 says:



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