Sorry, I was a bit tetchy that day after hearing a third of my friends tell me that Taiwanese qualifications were worthless, another third tell me I’d never get into a Taiwanese school and the other third wax on how great the pay was going to be… (PS: if we have to talk about money, do you know a trainee NHS doctor after tax makes less than a reasonably busy English teacher in Taiwan?)
You’re right, and I think the problem with medicine in Taiwan is summed up by the majority reaction of my not-so-good-but-very-typical Taiwanese friends: ‘wow, I wish I could be a doctor! You are going to make so much money’. They mean this to be a compliment, but I find it pretty depressing.
Then again, while Taiwanese hospital doctors might be lacking bedside manner, I genuinely feel safe in their hands. The UK has chronic funding shortages and privatisation issues, Canada is having similar problems and the US is just funked. Taiwan doesn’t look all that bad on a global scale. A few years back my grandmother went into our local hospital (Liverpool Royal University Hospital). She wasn’t exactly in great shape and had various complications that made her sensitive to medication. An arrogant and overworked doctor refused to check with the nurse what medication she was already receiving and gave her something for kidney stones. And yup, you guessed it: everything reacted, she ended up with a burst stomach ulcer and died not long after. Our family have had so much go wrong at this place that we affectionally call it The Morgue aka Liverpool f’ing Royal.
Yes, I do want to become a part of this screwed up system for the very reason that it is screwed up. And when all’s said and done, I have a choice. If, after some time working here, I find it impossibly frustrating then I can always leave. If I can make the tiniest difference then I will try - and that’s why I want to become a doctor.
PS: I hope that somewhere there really is a urologist named Lao Wang!
[quote=“smithsgj”]And unless I’m mistaken the same system that produces the intelligent hospital doctors also generates the back alley mountebanks: Uncle Zhou’s Paediatrics and Lao Wang the Urologist. These places are dotted around all over the xiangzi, along with binlang stands, raw meat selling trucks, and restaurants that do their washing up on the side of the road. People go to these questionable establishments because the service is quicker, I suppose…