O&G: Oblivious and Grandiose
The good thing (if not bad) about medicine is, there is always issue. Anything that involves science is a developing field. Hence, new things will be discovered and new problems rise. My professor once said “Science is ‘why?’”. Human will keep on asking the question again and again until we find a satisfactory answer. Hence, there will always be things to discuss about in medicine.
Obstetrics and Gynecology (O&G) is a branch of medicine in which doctors deal with female patients’ health problems. From breast cancer to cervical tumour, from subfertility to labour, doctors in charge must make proper examinations to the patient. And yes, it means the doctor; either man or woman will deal with the private part whenever necessary. Soon the demand for female doctors only to work in O&G department rises. The question is, can we possibly reach this utopia?
I can, write an entire article about my opinions but I have to be fair because I’m just a medical student who haven’t even attend any O&G class, moreover work in an O&G ward. It only seems fair to me for us to ask about the things we don’t know from people who really know. We can’t go around and spread our empty opinions when we don’t even know a thing about it, can we? Too unwise, I would say.
Below are the points from my interview with some doctors earlier (Dr W, Dr E and Dr R). The topic is about O&G; is it possible for us to meet the demand ‘female doctors only for female patients?’.
They are not denying that it is more convenient for female doctors to handle O&G but there are certain things that should be put into consideration:
- O&G is a field in medicine. It is compulsory for all medical students to learn the basics about it. It’s a part of the terms you need to fulfill to become a full fledge doctor. Regardless of sex; whether you are a male or female, it is compulsory for you to learn and practice it. You can’t take half and ignore the other half. When you are in the medical field, you must know all.
- Is the number of doctors sufficient right now? If the government can provide sufficient female doctors for on call, for the maternity operating theater, to review antenatal and post natal, for emergency department, then yes, we can meet the demand.
- How about other doctors who indirectly get involve with O&G? The anaesthetist in the operating theater, the paediatrician who is ready to handle the baby, the surgeon who is responsible to rule out abdominal diseases after receiving referrals from the obstetrician; are they all women? If the idea is to demand all these to be done by female doctors, then it will be extremely difficult.
- To some male doctors, O&G is a very tough field. It requires lots of energy and consumes a large portion of your time. Although it deals with women’s private and sacred part, sometimes not all female doctors can endure such working hours. Some opted to spend more time with family and personal life.
- To say that O&G should be dominated by female doctors is quite inaccurate and impossible for now, to say the least. Mainly because of lack of manpower. There are certain conditions in which male doctors are needed. Not every female doctor has the strength to pull the baby, or use the forceps during delivery. Anybody who wants to be an obstetrician must be strong physically and mentally. Some patients even prefer male doctors mainly because they are gentler and less emotional.
- If we keep supporting the taboo that men should not do O&G, then who’s going to cater to all pregnant women’s needs? In fact, some male doctors just perform even better than female doctors.
- O&G is not gender-based field. Anyone who has the specialty should do it for greater good.
In a nutshell, the reality shows that the demand is still hard to be met. It’s not impossible, but for now, not yet probable.
As for us medical students; here are some advices given by our seniors, who are now working hard as doctors:
“Focus on your study, master the theoretical part. Don’t worry about the practical. When you have started working, you will automatically learn to do the procedures. While you are still in Egypt, do anything you like, but at the same time gain knowledge on medicine. Learn new things, visit places. Because when you have started working, you’ll not have time for those,”.
“Don’t bend over backwards to merely be top scorers in medical school. Enjoy your life as a student, spend time with your loved ones, travel a lot, read non-medical-related books, get yourself more involved in community-service works (volunteerism, talks, medical checkups, etc) because those are the real practice to become doctors, to learn how to be selfless and helpful, not isolating yourself behind closed doors studying,”.
Siti Sarah binti Mustaza
Faculty of Medicine
Ain Shams University
Publications and Information Bureau
PERUBATAN Ain Shams Chapter
This article is the personal opinion of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinion of PERUBATAN Online.