Monday, October 29, 2007

keyhole on our world


medblog addict, in the opening of her blog says, and i quote, "It is as though someone has drilled peep holes into the walls of emergency rooms, operating rooms and doctors' offices. I can't look away." it is like er or gray's anatomy or dr house or (insert name of some medical drama here). to be honest one of the reasons i blog is because our world is so far removed from what is perceived as normality that just to talk about things that happen on a day to day basis makes for quite good entertainment.

but i know there are dangers. there has been talk of flea and butterfly and there are probably others who have fallen from the blogosphere. we as blogging doctors need to be careful. one aspect of this is to always ensure anonymity of our patients and other involved parties. hence dr rob started the ethical blogger initiative, which i think is brilliant.

but i think there is another slant to the whole thing. medblog addict sums it up when she concludes, "i can't look away". i think there is at least some onus upon the reader.

there is a paradox here. they read the blogs exactly because it is a window on a totally bizarre world, but this bizarre world may occasionally offend. the reader has to accept this.
i remember when i was in second year doing anatomy and dissecting cadavers. one of the groups named their cadaver stiffany (she was stiff). this is a type of black humour common to medical students and doctors, yet it probably seems sick or even inappropriate to the non medical blog reader. the question then is, how honest must we be as medical bloggers? too honest and we offend. not honest enough and it is not a true medical blog.

this point came home to me with two parallel events. the first was a rather harsh criticism of a comment on one of my posts, implying that a certain doctor was callous. i doubt he was. he saw the typical black humour of yet another bizarre occurrence that was described. typical medical reaction really. the other was a most entertaining and humorous post by mdod called musants. i really enjoyed it. i had a good laugh. then i thought about being one of those possible patients reading the blog. there will be a certain amount of offence taken every now and again at some of the things doctors say.

but that is why i'm making a call for understanding from both sides. doctors will have to be careful and moderate in what they blog. dr rob has taken great steps to ensure this. but medblog addicts must also understand that to have a keyhole on our world is in fact a keyhole on our world.

i invite comments.

11 comments:

Greg P said...

With blogging you can be as careful or careless as you like, and we sometimes see people regret carelessness. Beyond that, we're all just human, and one sees a bit more of the humanity in medblogs than you will get from the AMA, or documentaries, or dramas, or even sitcoms. It's the biggest part of why doctors don't enjoy watching most fictional shows about doctors, they're just not anything like reality.

It's one of the things that bothers me about the Star Trek series -- these people aren't real, they're not cracking jokes, goofing off, doing stupid things.

Ladyk73 said...

It wasn't me! I am not the only lady around!

I am currently a MSW student. And my caring thoughful loving social worker ways....

resulted in one of my developmentally disbaled men punching a wall and running out of the building today.

Working with 'challanging" people can make you nuts.

Humor keeps you sane.

Amanzimtoti said...

Excellent post.

I think medical blogs do give a glimpse into the world of doctors, but still I don't think a non medical person can ever really understand what it is like. Medical programmes on tv have idealised doctors - what people think doctors are like or should be like. The truth is, doctors are a strange breed - most doctors find it difficult to relate to and converse with non medical people (other than patients and that's only because they can talk about medicine to them) and tend to talk about nothing but medicine. The black humour amongst med students and doctors does kind of keep us sane in the midst of all the madness, but we do sometimes forget that what we might find funny, the lay person might find horrifying. My first response to your story from the previous post was also that it was ridiculous and hilarious and when that commenter had such an emotional response, I was taken aback at first, but I understand why she was upset by it. Maybe it's not entirely fair to expect someone who's never been on our side to understand it.

rlbates said...

All good comments. Being married to someone not in medicine, I find it nice to have this "community" of folks who do understand what it is like.

And what we all need to remember is that it is "just a glimpse", not always the entire picture.

Roer said...

It is nothing new. The 'law' programs on TV are also FAR from the real deal. Just like medical programmes on tv have idealised doctors, they have vilifide attorneys. Such is life. Relax and enjoy blogging! I most certainly enjoy peaking into your medical world and thank you for that.

Dizzy Dee said...

I believe that you should be honest. That's the point of a blog right? A place where you can just be totally honest, and if people don't like it, they can go and read somewhere else, but maybe that's just me.

I want all the details. All the jokes that are made when the theatre doors are closed. But hey, that's just me :P

Bongi said...

dizzy, good point.

Fallen Angels said...

I am currently in Anatomy for health fields majors (undergrad)...we've named our cadaver "Eileen"; for that is certainly what she would say (if she could talk) if we stood her in the anatomy wing hallway! The dissection group one table over have a male, single lower limb amputee. They've named him "Bob"...which is what he would do if he were to be thrown in a pool! ;)

Amanzi Down Under said...

As an anatomy student, my mate named our Kadaav (sic): "Johnny Rotten". He was a Sex Pistols fan. The Kadaav wasn't really rotten, and wasn't really a 'Johnny' either. We renamed her Jessie Rotten once we started Genitourinary Anatomy. Just goes to show that you should always examine your patients from head to toe. But we still get caught out in this androgynous world of today, it was just recently that only after seeing the "F" on the drivers licence, I realised I had referred to a her as a him to her/his face.
I'm a slow learner.

Medblog Addict said...

Sorry it took me so long to get over here and comment. I can’t speak for any other non-medical types who read the medblogs, but I don’t have any unrealistic expectations. I take whatever y’all choose to disclose. I have to admit that I do hope to stumble on a secret or two, maybe some juicy inside information, or a good doctor rant. But mainly, I read the medblogs because they are interesting and let me have a glimpse into a world that I would otherwise never get to see. I love your blog and always look forward to peeking into your world. Thank you for not covering the keyhole.~MA

Bongi said...

well medblog addict, you and dee agree. i think your good point has been made, in my mind anyway.