Friday Foolery #55 Entrance to the Maternity Ward

26 07 2013

This Picture speaks for itself, I suppose

Source: Facebook page of George Takei (link to picture)

26-7-2013 22-36-52 PUSH PUSH





Friday Foolery #54 The Best 404 Message ever?

25 01 2013

claimtoken-510ebd2ada419

Somebody send me a direct message via Twitter, asking me if he had missed any posts. Sorting his Google Reader feeds, he saw this blog was last updated October.

And he is right :(.

Just to assure you that this blog is not dead, but hibernating*, I would like to link to perhaps the BEST 404 message ever.

This 404 message aptly shows where you can turn to when you “Lost your sense of direction” at the ASRM (American Society for Reproductive Medicine) website.

http://www.asrm.org/error.aspx?aspxerrorpath=/Media/Ethics/childrearing.pdf

——————————

Hattip: Bora Zivkovic (@BoraZ), @palmd) and Rebecca Weinberg (@sciliz)

* I have little spare time (and energy) at the moment to write my “usual” long exhaustive posts. Sorry. But I will come back!





Friday Foolery #51 Statistically Funny

1 06 2012

Epidemiologists, people working in the EBM field and, above all, statisticians are said to have no sense of humor.*

Hilda Bastian is a clear exception to this rule.

I met Hilda a few years ago at a Cochrane colloquium. At that time she was working as a consumer advocate in Australia. Nowadays she is editor and curator of PubMed Health. According to her Twitter Bio (she tweets as @hildabast) she is (still) “Interested in effective communication as well as effective health care”. She also writes important articles, like “Seventy-Five Trials and Eleven Systematic Reviews a Day: How Will We Ever Keep Up? (PLOS 2010), reviewed at this blog.

Today I learned she also has a great creative talent in cartoon drawing, in the field of …  yeah… EBM, epidemiology & statistics.

Below is one of her cartoons, which fits in well with a recent post in the BMJ by Ray Moynihan, retweeted by Hilda: Preventing overdiagnosis: how to stop harming the healthy. In her post she refers to another article: Overdiagnosis in cancer (JNCI 2010), saying:

“Finding and aggressively treating non-symptomatic disease that would never have made people sick, inventing new conditions and re-defining the thresholds for old ones: will there be anyone healthy left at all?”

I invite you to go and visit Hilda’s blog Statistically funny (Commenting on the science of unbiased health research with cartoons) and to enjoy her cartoons, that are often inspired by recent publications in the field.

* My post #NotSoFunny #16: ridiculing RCTs and EBM even led David Rind to sigh that “EBM folks are not necessarily known for their great senses of humor”. (so I’m no exception to the rule ;)





Medical Black Humor, that is Neither Funny nor Appropriate.

19 09 2011

Last week, I happened to see this Facebook post of the The Medical Registrar where she offends a GP, Anne Marie Cunningham*, who wrote a critical post about black medical humor at her blog “Wishful Thinking in Medical Education”. I couldn’t resist placing a likewise “funny” comment in this hostile environment where everyone seemed to agree (till then) and try to beat each other in levels of wittiness (“most naive child like GP ever” – “literally the most boring blog I have ever read”,  “someone hasn’t met many midwives in that ivory tower there.”, ~ insulting for a trout etc.):

“Makes no comment, other than anyone who uses terms like “humourless old trout” for a GP who raises a relevant point at her blog is an arrogant jerk and an unempathetic bastard, until proven otherwise…  No, seriously, from a patient’s viewpoint terms like “labia ward” are indeed derogatory and should be avoided on open social media platforms.”

I was angered, because it is so easy to attack someone personally instead of discussing the issues raised.

Perhaps you first want to read the post of Anne Marie yourself (and please pay attention to the comments too).

Social media, black humour and professionals…

Anne Marie mainly discusses her feelings after she came across a discussion between several male doctors on Twitter using slang like ‘labia ward’ and ‘birthing sheds’ for birth wards, “cabbage patch” to refer to the intensive care and madwives for midwives (midwitches is another one). She discussed it with the doctors in question, but only one of them admitted he had perhaps misjudged sending the tweet. After consulting other professionals privately, she writes a post on her blog without revealing the identity of the doctors involved. She also puts it in a wider context by referring to  the medical literature on professionalism and black humour quoting Berk (and others):

“Simply put, derogatory and cynical humour as displayed by medical personnel are forms of verbal abuse, disrespect and the dehumanisation of their patients and themselves. Those individuals who are the most vulnerable and powerless in the clinical environment – students, patients and patients’ families – have become the targets of the abuse. Such humour is indefensible, whether the target is within hearing range or not; it cannot be justified as a socially acceptable release valve or as a coping mechanism for stress and exhaustion.”

The doctors involved do not make any effort to explain what motivated them. But two female anesthetic registrars frankly comment to the post of Anne Marie (one of them having created the term “labia ward”, thereby disproving that this term is misogynic per se). Both explain that using such slang terms isn’t about insulting anyone and that they are still professionals caring for patients:

 It is about coping, and still caring, without either going insane or crying at work (try to avoid that – wait until I’m at home). Because we can’t fall apart. We have to be able to come out of resus, where we’ve just been unable to save a baby from cotdeath, and cope with being shouted and sworn at be someone cross at being kept waiting to be seen about a cut finger. To our patients we must be cool, calm professionals. But to our friends, and colleagues, we will joke about things that others would recoil from in horror. Because it beats rocking backwards and forwards in the country.

[Just a detail, but “Labia ward” is a simple play on words to portray that not all women in the "Labor Ward" are involved in labor. However, this too is misnomer.  Labia have little to do with severe pre-eclampsia, intra-uterine death or a late termination of pregnancy]

To a certain extent medical slang is understandable, but it should stay behind the doors of the ward or at least not be said in a context that could offend colleagues and patients or their carers. And that is the entire issue. The discussion here was on Twitter, which is an open platform. Tweets are not private and can be read by other doctors, midwives, the NHS and patients. Or as e-Patient Dave expresses so eloquently:

I say, one is responsible for one’s public statements. Cussing to one’s buddies on a tram is not the same as cussing in a corner booth at the pub. If you want to use venting vocabulary in a circle, use email with CC’s, or a Google+ Circle.
One may claim – ONCE – ignorance, as in, “Oh, others could see that??” It must, I say, then be accompanied by an earnest “Oh crap!!” Beyond that, it’s as rude as cussing in a streetcorner crowd.

Furthermore, it seemed the tweet served no other goal as to be satirical, sardonic, sarcastic and subversive (words in the bio of the anesthetist concerned). And sarcasm isn’t limited to this one or two tweets. Just the other day he was insulting to a medical student saying among other things:“I haven’t got anything against you. I don’t even know you. I can’t decide whether it’s paranoia, or narcissism, you have”. 

We are not talking about restriction of “free speech” here. Doctors just have to think twice before they say something, anything on Twitter and Facebook, especially when they are presenting themselves as MD.  Not only because it can be offensive to colleagues and patients, but also because they have a role model function for younger doctors and medical students.

Isolated tweets of one or two doctors using slang is not the biggest problem, in my opinion. What I found far more worrying, was the arrogant and insulting comment at Facebook and the massive support it got from other doctors and medical students. Apparently there are many “I-like-to-exhibit-my-dark-humor-skills-and-don’t-give-a-shit-what-you think-doctors” at Facebook (and Twitter) and they have a large like-minded medical audience: the “medical registrar page alone has 19,000 (!) “fans”.

Sadly there is a total lack of reflection and reason in many of the comments. What to think of:

“wow, really. The quasi-academic language and touchy-feely social social science bullshit aside, this woman makes very few points, valid or otherwise. Much like these pages, if you’re offended, fuck off and don’t follow them on Twitter, and cabbage patch to refer to ITU is probably one of the kinder phrases I’ve heard…”

and

“Oh my god. Didnt realise there were so many easily offended, left winging, fun sponging, life sucking, anti- fun, humourless people out there. Get a grip people. Are you telling me you never laughed at the revue’s at your medical schools?”

and

“It may be my view and my view alone but the people who complain about such exchanges, on the whole, tend to be the most insincere, narcissistic and odious little fuckers around with almost NO genuine empathy for the patient and the sole desire to make themselves look like the good guy rather than to serve anyone else.”

It seems these doctors and their fans don’t seem to possess the communicative and emphatic skills one would hope them to have.

One might object that it is *just* Facebook or that “#twitter is supposed to be fun, people!” (dr Fiona) 

I wouldn’t agree for 3 reasons:

  • Doctors are not teenagers anymore and need to act as grown-ups (or better: as professionals)
  • There is no reason to believe that people who make it their habit to offend others online behave very differently IRL
  • Seeing Twitter as “just for fun” is an underestimation of the real power of Twitter

Note: *It is purely coincidental that the previous post also involved Anne Marie.





Stories [7]: A Strange Doctor

30 05 2010

The theme of the next Grand Rounds hosted at TECHKNOWDOC’S SURGICAL ADVENTURES is “Humor in Medicine”.

I have been thinking and thinking, but I failed to come up with a funny story other than I have told before (and one I have to check with my mom). Most of my experiences in the medicine/health field aren’t that funny (from my perspective). I can imagine it is different for people working in the field, and especially in the field of emergency care. Life in the Fast Lane and Other Things Amanzi are a rich source of medical humor.

But I have a short story to tell, that is on the interface of science and medicine…

As you probably know I worked as scientist for many years. I did my PhD in a lab where we worked with mice and guinea pigs. I tested the immuno-enhancing effects of cytostatic drugs in mouse models, whereas others tested immunotherapeutic effects of cytostatics, interleukins and/or vaccines in tumormodels, both in mice and guinea pigs. Good for science, but not so nice for the animals: I was glad I didn’t have to do the tumor-experiments.

My boss was a guinea pig expert, he knew everything about guinea-pig immunology. As most project leaders he had his PhD-degree. In the Netherlands he is therefore called a doctor (dr.), which is different from a “dokter” (in Dutch) or a doctor of Medicine (English). But many do not understand the difference.

Sometimes in the school holidays my boss’s little girls came along. They were shown the guinea pigs, but were (of course) kept from the experimentation rooms (the rules were not that strict in the eighties, one could just walk in and out of the stables). Dad tried to explain to them why the guinea pigs were there and what he was doing with them in a simple and not too rude way.

Later, the teacher of one of the girls asked the children of the class what their parents were doing for a living. When it was the turn of my boss’s daughter, she said that both of her parents were doctors. One was a GP and the other, well…. he cured guinea pigs ….

Photo Credits

Guinea Pig: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sween/4465737889/





Friday Foolery [2]. How to use your inhaler. NOT.

28 08 2009

For the first time seen on Allergynotes: “Compliance” or “Are you using your inhaler right.” I really had to laugh out loud when I saw it, and so did my daughter and husband.

Therefore I would like to share it with you.

Text with the video: As a doctor half the battle is figuring out if your patients are actually doing what you tell them. Here’s a prime example where Dr. House is trying so hard to be nice for the holidays….

If you’re looking for more serious posts on the matter, please see Allergynotes, another blog of Ves Dimov.

And House is also on the Dutch t.v. My daughter told me it is even one of her favorite series. I wouldn’t know, it was the first time I saw House. Most of my evenings are filled with Twitter, blogging or sports.


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LoL: Stop Following Me!

28 06 2009

This picture is so cool.
First seen at ScienceRoll of Bertalan Mesko (@berci); this print is from a T-shirt of Zazzle.
More t-shirts and other prictures can be seen here





Top of the Tweets [3] – Elections, OmiGod!

15 04 2009

Twitter is a microblogging service initially meant as a place where people could answer the question “What are you doing?” via 140-character messages. But Twitter is more useful as a platform for breaking news, exchanging links, thoughts and views, and for social networking.

Twitter is particularly suited for oneliners that are funny or hit the mark. Below is my third selection of twitter oneliners that made me smile, grin or laugh. I hope you like them.

The first selection of tweets has to do with Elections. Although most may have lost some of their topicality they’re still catchy and funny.

The most important election was that of Obama (inauguration January 20).

Reed the tweets from down up and from left to right.Click the Figure to enlarge it.

fav3-2009-obama

Another historic election was the Medgadget competition, designed to showcase the best blogs from the medical blogosphere. Sandnsurf (Life in the fast Lane from Australia) and Laikas were finalists in the category Best New Medical Weblog of 2008.
Sandnsurf had some problems in the beginning: he couldn’t vote and, more importantly, he got few votes. But this was a typical example of “slow start, strong finish”: he won. In the meantime, Laikas was not very happy about how some votes were ‘won’.

fav-medgadget

And February 23 was the Oscar Contest. What is it with Australians and contests?

fav-3-oscars-long

From OmiGod it doesn’t take many steps to the following tweets…..

collage-god-4-white-21

……nor to the following, which are more in my own field:

shamsha-pat-devine-pubmed-god

You can find the first edition of Top of the Tweets here.

This series is inspired by the “Selection of My Twitter Favorites” of Ves Dimov at his “Clinical Cases and Images” blog.





SuperNews! Twouble with Twitters

22 03 2009

Via Twitter (@stephenfry and @ninjaboi) Check this out! http://tinyurl.com/cx723z
Hilarious. About the twitter phenomenon. Watch the failwhale!

more about “SuperNews! Twouble with Twitters // C…“, posted with vodpod




Top of the Tweets [2]

24 01 2009

Twitter is a microblogging service initially meant as a place where people could answer the question “What are you doing?” via 140-character messages from their cellphone, laptop or desktop. But Twitter is more useful as a platform for breaking news, exchanging links, thoughts and views, and (indirectly) for social networking.

Twitter is particularly suited for oneliners that are funny or hit the mark. Below is my second selection of twitter oneliners that made me smile, grin or laugh. I hope you like them.

favs-2-def2

You can find the first edition of Top of the Tweets here.

This series is inspired by the “Selection of My Twitter Favorites” of Ves Dimov at his “Clinical Cases and Images” blog. His favorites tend also to contain more in depth discussions on a particular subject.





RSS-chair

24 06 2008

I think I want this chair at my library : click here to see ;)

Thanks Berci (from scienceroll) for the tip.








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