Monday, 28 September 2015

For the junior doctors

Author: Caroline McConnell

For the surgical registrar who took the biopsies which confirmed the cancer.

For the GP who gave me 40 minutes of her time when my appointment was only booked for 10, because I’d just been diagnosed and was numb with shock. And for the many more consultations following, when I was poorly from chemo and feeling isolated.

For the anaesthetic SHO who sent me off the sleep and took me safely through investigative surgery. Who would later review me on the ward because I was intensely nauseous, even though he’d finished his shift.

For the surgical registrar who removed my lymph nodes to determine if the cancer had spread and assisted on my subsequent mastectomy and reconstruction.

For a colleague, a surgical SHO, who at the end of her shift visited me in recovery and stayed for two hours to keep me company. She did the same during every day of my admission, despite upcoming exams and a need to study.

For the registrar who repeatedly drained the fluid that built up in my back in the weeks following surgery. Who listened when I dismissed back pain and bruising as a side effect of chemotherapy, only for him to examine me and point out that I had a pretty nasty infection, which if left any longer, would have required a hospital admission.

For the oncology registrar who talked through my treatment plan, patiently answered my many questions and consented me for chemotherapy. Who later took time out of his clinic to see me in the chemotherapy unit, to reassure me that the treatment induced loss of sensation to my fingers was unlikely permanent. Who listened with a genuine empathy and didn’t push me when I said that I didn’t want to suppress my ovaries, even if it would improve prognosis.

For the A&E SHO who recognised the early signs of sepsis and gave me rapid IV antibiotics when I turned up at hospital feeling “not quite right” in one of the days following my last cycle of chemotherapy.

For the the medical registrars who gently guided and supported me following my return to work. Who never complained at my slow management of patients, my continual stream of questions and my need for reassurance. Who gave me back my confidence. And to foundation trainees and core trainees who took up the slack created by me, without complaint, whilst I found my feet.

For the radiology registrar who examined my latest scans, one year post diagnosis and confirmed that my cancer hasn’t returned.

Some of these junior doctors have less than a years experience, others more than a decade, as the Department of Health terms all doctors who are not consultant grade as junior.

They don’t deserve a 30% pay cut. They don’t deserve to be in work on every weekend. They don’t deserve to have the protections which ensure employers cannot make them work excessive hours, removed.

For each of these junior doctors, this junior doctor will strike.

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