What the hell?

May 18, 2009 at 4:00 am (Uncategorized)

As I’m coming up on the end of medical school, I started reading old comments on this blog. Some people generate discussion, others criticize, someone else might say something funny, and then there are those times when I read a comment and think to myself, what the hell was he thinking? So now, I present my weirdest comments from the past two years.

By far my most popular post has been about the difficulty in getting into medical school . Despite my constant pleas in which I beg people not to ask me about their individual circumstances-such as “what are my chances of getting into medical school”—I am regularly hit by high school students who clearly know nothing about what doctors do. Calah writes:

So, is it better for a girl to be a doctor or nurse? Nurses make less, for doing the same thing. But, doctors have to go to school for soooo long. Is it worth it? What if u want a family? After you graduate, are doctor and nurses working hours that different, especially if u want a family?

What the hell are you talking about? Doctors and nurses have very different jobs and work different hours. I don’t watch many medical TV shows, but does ER tell us that doctors and nurses do the same thing?

Phuong follows up with,

I think that if you truly wanted to be in the medical field, gender doesn’t matter. I rather be a doctor, because they make more, and it seems more fun anyways (BTW I’m a girl). I also thought that being in school to be a doc, you’ll get out at 30 years old or something. and that sucks….but i think that most doctors, have families, and most of them meet their loved ones while in school or something. That’s what i want to do, i would find a guy i like while in school. And don’t give up your dreams, cause my LATIN teacher wanted to be a doctor, but she didn’t want all the work cause she was already in a relationship, so she became a teacher instead. NOW, she said she wished she could turn back the clock, and become a doctor, cause it’s her dream. She told me “don’t get married a/f high school, cause it will hinder your chances.”

What the hell are you talking about? Just who told you all this? Your Latin teacher? What the hell does your high school foreign language teacher know about being a doctor? And don’t give me this, “I was supposed to have been a doctor instead.” You just can’t up and decide to go to medical school.

Occasionally, I get real firecrackers such as Landon, a high school sophomore who writes,

I am young,but I am very interested in being a Interventional Cardiologist.I am a 16 yrs old 10th grader… I have the money and grades to be one.

Where the hell did you get that idea? I didn’t even know what an interventional cardiologist was until I was a medical student. And you certainly don’t need money to become a doctor. You just need to make money after you finish medical school to pay back all of those loans.

Another very popular post has been on finding the best college for pre-med studies. Brittany writes in to say,

Medical school is such a challenge. I feel like it is so difficult, and people make it out being such a scary process. I am just a junior in high school, but I feel like I have been stressing out about this every day lately.

Brittany, go into your mother’s medical cabinet and find the bottle labeled either Xanax or alprazolam. Take one of those pills and then go outside and play. Another young reader, Kathleen, shows off her optimistic side:

Maybe then I would be able to set aside money saved from attending the public university honors program in order to help pay for the best medical school that I could be admitted to

Just how expensive do you think college is compared to medical school?

As a follow-up to the “best pre-med school” article, I wrote a piece explaining that there’s no such thing as a “best medical school.” However, that doesn’t stop some people. ATWIINE writes,


Arrrggghhhhh… my eyes! What the hell do you think I do all day? This is a personal blog. It’s not some kind of Internet charity.

Sometimes, I get readers who like to dispense advice on subjects they know nothing about, similar to the Latin teacher above. Two years ago I wrote a financial analysis of the military’s health professions scholarship program. While the information there is outdated because of a substantial boost that the program has received, that didn’t stop one dejected father from writing in. Silvanus had to tell me,

my son is a recent undergrad, i was recommending the HPSP to him.

Why the hell would you go and do something like that? Were you in the HPSP program? No? Then don’t recommend something if you’re not familiar with it.

The primary way that I deal with the stresses of medical school is to inject humor whenever I can. I’ve written quite a few fake posts over the past two years. However, not everyone gets that I am writing a parody.

I’ve been asked,

Is this for real?

I provided my e-mail address, would you please sent me information you used to create such a bogus pie graph.

Somebody actually got paid to write this crap?

No, I do it for free. And then there are those who just want to bitch. I’ve written quite a few rants against psychiatrists. Carrie Nation writes,

Your entire blog is confirmation for me that medical doctors, and the pond scum who hope to be one, are no more valuable to our society than personal injury lawyers and auto insurance brokers.

But my favorite coment came from Danielle, a reader who gave a very long objection to my portrayal of psychiatrists, then admitted that shrinks have personality disorders, and finally preceded to talk about her own bipolar condition.

Finally, a recurring theme on this blog has been the suggestion

I strongly suggest skipping residency and getting an MBA.

But there is that rare occasion where one reader writes and says

nice article… thanks

and it really brightens my day.



  1. Christopher said,

    We get loads of people in the back office who want to join the trading desk, thinking that it’s like using a web-based retail brokerage account. They don’t realize that most of the front office have terminal degrees, work 50 hours a week minimum, and are under the constant threat of being fired if a big strategy doesn’t work out.

    The truth is, most of the high-level professions (medicine, law, academia, technology, finance, accounting, etc.) require an immense amount of dedication. The perception that it takes until the age of 30 to make attending, partner, tenure, whatever is pretty accurate, and that’s if the person started the trek at a fairly early age and continued it all the way through.

    And as for anyone in high school who wants to know how to prepare now: travel. Get out and tour the world for a few years. And find a hobby, preferably one that requires its own dedication. You’ll be better rounded and make wider contacts. Worry about formal education when that time comes.

  2. Michael Rack, MD said,

    Nice article….thanks

    Enjoy your blog.

    BTW, it’s “parody” not “parity”

    Half M.D.: D’oh! Thanks for the correction.

  3. Kim said,

    Ouch. Well, FWIW I always enjoy your posts and happen to heartily agree with you about psychiatrists.

  4. Dan said,

    Ha! Best article yet.
    I cant tell you how many times I have heard people tell me that they/their kids/cousin etc’ are in medical school only to find out that they are in CNA school or getting a BA in psychology. They always ask me why im not done yet…..

  5. Miami_med said,

    Be careful about telling high school girls to take Xanax, someone might misconstrue that as medical advice πŸ˜‰

  6. Allison said,

    Ha ha. Nice article, thanks. I just finished up my 2nd year of med school and am studying for that dreaded evil test (STEP I). This made my day.

  7. DUCoM 2013 said,

    Most entertaining post yet.

  8. musingsofamedicalstudent said,


  9. Michael said,

    Thanks. I am a 30yo Ph.D. going through his first academic postdoc in physics, seriously considering a late start into a medical career. Why? Job security, better earning prospects than academic research, occupational prestige, and the power to help my fellow man, in roughly that order, depending on the day.

    The info you have given has been very helpful to my decision. Please keep it coming!

  10. *Joon* said,

    Your post make it seem like psychiatry is a bad choice of speciality. Would you please give a ranking of all the specialities you know about, so it can help me decide, what kind of doctor to be. Thank you πŸ™‚ – Joon

  11. Melissa Dudley said,

    This was worth the reading (got a couple laughs out of it). It really brightened my day πŸ™‚ Best of luck to you.

  12. Mercii said,

    This makes me smile. I actually laughed out loud a few times. I’m thankful to have found your blog. Good luck with your residency πŸ™‚

  13. Izzy said,

    Hahaha. Loved the article! Many people spend these days being politically correct that this kind of humour has disappeared almost completely.

  14. College Freshman... said,

    I hope I meet my husband in med school with the exact same humor and outlook on life as you, halfmd
    props to you

  15. Shrinkage factor said,

    Rant about psychiatrists all you want (or have you learned a thing or two since you last slung mud at them?), the ER staff are always immensely grateful when we come to take head cases off their hands. As well, we’re rather proud that our much-maligned work keeps us a step or three ahead of Bellevue circa 1900. At my hospital, shrinks damn well better do a thorough PE as well as manage a slew of medical conditions, since those with mental illness can throw the average medical floor into chaos. “This person is irrational,” the internists/FP’s/specialists wail to us. “We don’t know what to do with him/her. Please rescue us.” And you know what? We do. Some of the staff even say “Thank you for doing what not many of us choose to do” or the equivalent. (But not many. It seems that we’re often held personally accountable for the fact that mental illness persists. Irrational thinking, yes, but there’s a lot of that going around.)

    There’s a lot more to be said on psychiatry’s behalf. Whatever you’re doing as a resident, I hope you’ve now met a good deal more psychiatrists who worked just as hard as you did for the right and responsibility of signing M.D. after our names. If not, that’s a genuine shame.

    Wishing you the best of all possible outcomes, whatever path you take in your career.

  16. Jim said,

    I won’t bother trying to convince you of the merits of the field of psychiatry, but I would like to politely request, on behalf of all of society, that you please not put up barriers to any of your patients accessing psychiatric care. You may feel differently about the merits of psychiatry when one of your patients shoots up a movie theater or school full of kids, or commits a murder/suicide. That being said, if you are comfortable having those things on your conscience, by all means, continue to act as though mental health is irrelevant and psychiatrists don’t know anything about talk therapy or treating psychotic patients who are a danger to themselves and others.

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