Saturday, February 9, 2013

May contain coarse language

If you're (un)lucky enough to spend much time hanging around with doctors you'll undoubtedly hear them identify themselves or one of their colleagues as a shit magnet. Shit magnet doctors are the ones whose patients suffer sudden, unpredictable, bizarre, and potentially lethal complications, while the shit magnet doctor is on duty and typically after hours when little help or advice is available from more senior colleagues.

I don't believe in shit magnets.

You see, I don't believe in luck.  It's practically the only way I'm NOT like Han Solo.  Scoundrel? Check.  Corellian? Check. Sitting next to giant Wookiee? Check.  Believes in luck? Sad trombone. 

Luck, in the sense of a person consistently attracting bad luck or good luck, makes no sense to me, and long-time readers know that I am Captain Sensible.

So what's really going on?

For a long time I believed that these "shit magnets" were actually just whingers.  People who couldn't take the heat and yet didn't want to put down the hair dryer. Got two pages at once?  "I'm such a shit magnet." Your warfarinized patient fell down? "Shit magnet".  I do not concur. It's just run of the mill medicine and everyone else is dealing with it, so why can't you? This was consistent with my observation that shit magnets were often aesthenic control freak types, not that I'm a fan of such sweeping generalizations.

But recently I started to wonder.  I've seen a few self-proclaimed shit magnets at work, and also some self-pro-claimed non-shit magnets (who, from a physics point of view, are actually also shit magnets but with the opposite shit polarity so as to repel instead of attract the shit). And what I see is this - the same bad stuff happens to both.  But the shit magnets make a big effort to do everything properly and try to get things under control.  Whereas the non-shit magnets just let things slide. Their attitude is that if the problem isn't going to kill the patient before the end of their shift, it's not really their problem. This also was consistent with my previously mentioned observation that shit magnets were aesthenic control freak types, not that I'm a fan of such sweeping generalizations, also as previously mentioned.

So what's really going on is that the non-shit magnets are simply handballing their problems on the shit magnets who then deal with them properly.  At least that's my current theory.

Anybody got any other observations or ideas?


Anonymous said...

I don't know if I'm a shit magnet but I seem to get handed more than my fair share of poorly crafted shit sandwiches at work.

PTR said...

Would that be better or worse than a well crafted one?

Anonymous said...

Generally speaking I would say it is worse than a well crafted one, unless it was the 'early' work of a master crafter and then it could have some interest as providing insight into their formative years on the journey from apprentice to master...