This article originally appeared on VICE UK.
I've been treated by a variety of doctors and surgeons over the course of my pathetic, sickly little life, and I would say about half of them were born here in the UK. One person who seems to have a massive fucking problem with that is Jeremy Hunt, who is sick to the absolute back teeth of foreign doctors healing and helping the country's poorly, and would much prefer nice British doctors who wear Union Jack scrubs and whistle "Jerusalem" while performing keyhole surgery on your child.
During his speech at the Conservative party conference, Health Secretary Hunt claimed that the NHS will be "self-sufficient" within ten years so we don't have to rely on foreign doctors. You know, the guys and girls from France and Egypt and Brazil who are the best in the world at helping people. Yeah, let's get rid of them!
Of course, the chances of this happening now are minute, thanks to the very man making the announcement. Jeremy Hunt's proposed new junior doctors' contract has already inspired some British doctors to actively pack up and leave the country – and what's his plan to keep others here? Threatening them with fines if they think about working abroad after completing their medical training.
It's a real shit-show, basically, and something needs to be done. Because if Brexit makes it harder for people to come and work here – which it will – and fewer people apply to be doctors – which they probably will – there's not going to be anyone left to look at my arches. So to get the ball rolling, I thought I'd take matters into my own hands.
As I don't have a lot of time before all doctors leave the UK and I'm called up to the country's many hospitals and surgeries with my stethoscope and brown leather doctor's back from the 1920s, I had to get my theory down fast. The best way to learn things really quickly is to skim-read Wikipedia pages, so I opened a load of tabs about different body parts, diseases, that sort of thing. I learned a lot.
I then took to the rest of the internet to start my standardised testing on the website QUIZWOW. QUIZWOW provided me with some tough questions, ones that I had to rack my medical brain to get to the bottom of, like:
But in the end I triumphed, because I can retain biological terminology better than a lamp can light a cave. The result said I was "Med School Bound", and I think it just might have been right.
The next quiz I took didn't quite go to plan, though. The questions on this one were harder, and they made me feel small and feckless, which is the opposite of how I'll need to feel if I'm to be responsible for removing a clot from someone's brain or something.
It said I was a medical misfit. What the fuck is that about? You mean, internet quiz, to say that I'm incapable of training as a doctor in such a short amount of time and that I would present serious danger to anyone I operated on? That sounds like a load of quitter talk to me. Quitter talk and poppycock.
Mind you, some people don't really do so well with the book-learnin', so I thought I'd try my hand at some field-work instead, guided by a website that explains how doctors do open heart procedures. Perhaps I'm just a kinesthetic learner – perhaps all I needed to do was stab a baguette and then I'd be fine to carry out invasive surgery?
Armed with a knife and a rickety old box full of bandages and what have you, it was high time to stab up some stuff and stick it back together. I asked my desk mate if I could just cut up his arm a bit and try to patch it up, but he had his headphones on and is a big fan of ignoring me. Instead, I got a sandwich from the local sandwich point.
We'll call him "Pete". Pete has a benign tumour in his chest cavity. I'm not sure what it's attached to, but it's probably his lungs and / or heart. It's up to me to excise the evil, the black death, from this poor cunt.
According to an article on healthline.com sub-titled "How is open heart surgery performed?" I needed to anaesthetise my patient. I didn't have any morphine or whatever to hand, so some paracetamol that cost me all of 18 pence would have to do. It might be a bumpy ride, Petey boy, but if you stick with me I'll see you through.
I made the incision into Pete's solar plexus. There was some light screaming, but nothing a junior doctor like me hadn't heard in the medical pavilion bar where all the students try to inject each other with paralysis drugs for a laugh.
I attached the heart-lung bypass machine, here illustrated by this Beats By Dre headphone wire, and got to work removing the tumour. It was a big'un, but luckily I was there to fix this poor bugger and guide him through the recovery process, until I forget about him altogether, like I have to do with all my patients, because I can't let myself get too attached.
Phew! It was out. Another life saved in the nick of time by Joe Bish M.D. It's all in a day's work, but the toll it takes on my personal life will almost certainly drive me to booze and fags.
I patched Pete up and wrapped him in one of those blankets you see medics give to people who've just come out of house fires, or who are sitting in the back of an open ambulance at the end of a film, talking about their adventures over a cup of hot chocolate. I did it because I thought it would look funny, and it sure did.
So there we have it, folks – with a couple of online quizzes, a bit of practice and a hooky diploma from a dodgy website, I'm now Dr. Joe Bish, Oncologist. I was once in favour of keeping our hard-working, integral workforce of foreign doctors, but now I've seen that it's a piece of piss, I'm all for scrapping them and just doing the job myself.
And hey, maybe even you could get yourself a medical qualification if you play your cards right.
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