Rants from the Crib

An Ob/Gyn gone mad

Physician Superstition

We docs are a superstitious bunch.  Really.  It’s absorbed with the baby food in med school.  You can never lose the paranoia.  For example:  when you are on call, NEVER say, “It’s really quiet here today.”  The call gods will hear you and will smite you with a ruptured ectopic or an abruption.  This is a fact.  I used to get so angry when my Mom would come to visit me on call and she would say brightly, “Well, it seems like a pretty good day so far!!!”  IMMEDIATELY that pager would go off and I would be pulled away from my home and my visitor for the rest of the day.  We docs much prefer a cowering look at the sky and the statement: “We’re verrrrrry busy here, Lord!”  Also, worrying is important.  When you have a patient with a strong possibility of a bad outcome, you must come up with every possible thing that might go wrong.  If you don’t think of something that could happen, THAT’S the thing that will happen.  So you have to think of them all.  Then you have to WORRY about all the possible things.  Worry constantly.  Worry while on call.  Worry when about to be on call.  Worry in the middle of the night.  And some patients, you can just TELL, have your name written on them.  I had a patient recently with multiple medical problems, with not the least of which is that she weighs over 300 pounds.  And she is not even my patient, technically.  She is my partner’s patient.  As soon as I met her, I just KNEW that her delivery day would wind up on one of my call days.  And sure enough, it did.  Just like I predicted.  There is also the rule of 3s.  All bad things happen in threes.  If you have two ruptured ectopics, a third is on the way.  You can count on it.  Two bad c-sections?  There’ll be another one soon.  This is irrefutably true.  Then there’s the full moon scenario.  We all know that the crazies come out during full moons.  Women also go into labor and come in with their water broken.  This also happens when low pressure systems come through.  The amazing thing is, we physicians believe in all of these things.  And if we are challenged, we actually become angry.  Especially if we are challenged in a way that may bring bad luck.  Amazing that such an educated group of individuals would carry those superstitions around.  Except they’re not superstitions.  They’re all true.  Of course.  We’re very busy here, Lord.


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