Q Fever! Medical Humor & Satire

March 7, 2001 | Volume 2, Issue 3

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Surgical Intern Treated Like Dog

Finds prison-camp-like routine "stimulating", "challenging"

MEMPHIS, TN—Despite the fact that he hasn't slept in approximately 41 hours, Dr. Joseph DeVita is having a "great time" as a surgical intern at Mercy Saints Hospital in downtown Memphis.

And although he recently sustained a needlestick injury that may have innoculated him with HIV, hepatitis C, or both, while a senior staff surgeon berated him for allowing a retractor to move during a procedure, DeVita claims to have no second thoughts about the grueling, hellish lifestyle he has sentenced himself to for the remainder of his twenties.

Dr. DeVita (in back)
holds retractor

"Surgery is really about helping people when they are in their greatest need", intoned the sleep-deprived DeVita, whose previously rock-stable relationship with Ms. Jennifer Andres, 26, also of Memphis, is headed straight down the proverbial drain. "I love the emphasis on skill, manual dexterity, and cameraderie", added DeVita without a trace of irony.

According to a recent report by Amnesty International, 80% of surgical trainees experience work conditions that "were thought to have disappeared when the Gulag uranium mines were closed".

"It's very difficult to help [surgical residents]", said Amnesty International USA coordinator Andy Millman. "Usually with victims of torture and abuse, there's some desire to be helped, to get yourself out of the situation. The tragedy with these folks is that they've mostly deluded themselves into believing they're extremely lucky to be pummeled shitless, day in, day out."

Meanwhile, DeVita has no complaints. "Dr. Barnes is such a great teacher", he said, referring to the alcoholic bully who administers the Mercy Saints surgical training program. "I'm proud to be part of his team."

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