Great Quotes in Medicine | How to Handle Back Talk

Posted on February 8, 2011


One of our recent lecturers was discussing different scenarios with us in a workshop on orthopedic injuries, and presented us with a case of a young collegiate baseball player with a shoulder dislocation.  After discussing how we would approach a physical exam and what, if any, images we would order, we were presented with the question of surgical repair.

There’s often no right or wrong answer, but we settled on a plan for this specific case.  Our lecturer then picked one of us to answer the following:

Orthopod:  Fine, you don’t want to do surgery.  Now, what if he was a Marine and had a deployment coming up?  He will be on your security detail during future convoys – what do you do?

Student:  Let the Army doctors take care of him.

Orthopod:  You just got drafted.

I won’t address the fact that she thought an Army doctor would take care of an injured Marine.  Turns out,  this surgeon had gone through medical school on the same military scholarship I’m on, and served several years in the Navy (and is planning on returning via the Reserves).

If there’s one thing they teach you in the Navy, it’s how to deal with a wise-ass (and, as a result, how to be one yourself).  I could fill an entire blog with quotes from my brief time in Officer Development School alone.

As an aside, you should never try to avoid a question as a medical student (or as an Officer), unless you want to be punished.  When in doubt:

  • If the question is about a drug, the answer is always Beta Blockers.
  • If the question is about side effects, the answer is always GI upset.

(For my non-medical friends, that’s a joke)