Monday 8 April 2013

DocBastard FAQ

I always try to encourage questions from readers either by email or in the comments, but it seems people are very hesitant to post comments.  So most of the questions I get are via email.  But I've noticed that I continue to get variations of the same questions, so I've decided to create a one-stop answer repository for you.  This is not because I want everyone to know everything about me; rather, it's much more selfish than that - I just want a link where I can point people from now on instead of answering the same damned questions over and over and over.

DISCLAIMER: Not all answers herein will be truthful, useful, helpful, or any combination thereof.  Some answers may or may not be completely or partially fabricated, invented, or otherwise fictional.  Batteries not included.  Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery.

Now that that's out of the way, let's begin, shall we?

1) Where are you from?
HA!  You really thought you'd try that first, eh?  Nice try, but I'm not falling for that one!  Did you really think I was going to answer that?

2) Fine, asshole.  Why won't you tell us where you're from?
Well that's a much simpler question to answer, so I'll answer it in as complex a fashion as possible.  My family is my first priority, and my patients come next.  Part of taking care of my patients is protecting their privacy.  All of the stories I tell are true (with certain details admittedly altered or embellished), so if you knew I was in London or Montreal or Sydney or Beijing or Moscow or Johannesburg, it might be easier to figure out who these people are.  I simply can not let that happen.

3) So I guess you won't tell me your name?
You guessed right.

4) Are you actually a doctor?
Seriously, I get this one all the time.  Yes, I am.

5) If you're actually a doctor, how do you have so much time to comment on FML and to update your blog?
What, are you some kind of time management expert now?  Trust me, I find the time.  I happen to be very efficient with my time, so when I can save a few seconds here and there, they add up.

6) Are you an ER doctor?
No.  NO.  NO!  Why don't you just slap me in the face, because that would hurt less.  In case you didn't catch that, no I'm not.  I'm a trauma surgeon.

7) Well excuuuuse me.  So what's the difference anyway? 
An emergency physician sees anyone who walks into the emergency department with a sniffle, a sprained ankle, pinkeye, chest pain, a hangnail, abdominal pain, anything.  A trauma surgeon sees only those people who are brought in having suffered a traumatic injury - falls, car accidents, stabbings, gunshot wounds, my-lawnmower-ran-over-my-foot wounds, etc.  We evaluate them and then perform surgery to repair any damage done, from simple things like lacerations to more complex things like shattered spleens.

8) Why do you call yourself "Doc Bastard"?
Easy, because I'm a doctor and a bastard.  NEXT QUESTION!  What, not good enough?  Ok, well the "Doc" part should be easy enough to figure out if you read question 4.  As for the "Bastard", when I decided to start commenting on, I thought I would act like the biggest asshole in the history of assholes to the posters and the other commenters.  "DocAsshole" just didn't look right, so "DocBastard" was born.  I quickly abandoned that idea, but I'm just not creative enough to think of a new username, so it stuck.

9) When did you decide to become a doctor?
When I was five years old, I visited my grandfather's medical office.  I saw his ophthalmoscope, otoscope, and stethoscope and thought, "Cool, I want to use these toys someday!" and I never looked back.

10) What about surgery?
I didn't decide that until I was well into medical school.  Believe it or not, I entered medical school thinking I'd go into pediatrics or psychiatry.  Surgery was barely a consideration then.  But on the first day of my surgery clerkship, I scrubbed into surgery for the first time (it was a groin hernia repair), and the scrub technician dressed me in my sterile gown and gloves.  The moment I put my hands on the patient, I knew I belonged there.

11) What does it take to be a trauma surgeon?
Hard work, determination, and a bit of luck.  You have to be willing to spend considerable amounts of time away from home, and you have to have a family that is supportive.  It's nearly impossible to spend 24 hours at a time in the hospital and survive without someone who loves you unconditionally to come home to.

12) Have you ever considered publishing these stories?
Ha!  No.  Writing is merely a hobby for me, and to be honest I never thought anyone would read this crap.  Now if anyone happens to know an editor or publisher and wanted to point him or her in my direction, I certainly wouldn't object.  HINT HINT

13) Who is your biggest influence?
That would be my father, DadBastard.  He was a surgeon as well, and a damned good one at that.  I'm told my personality is very similar to his, even down to his mannerisms.  He has always been my role model, and I can't think of anyone to whom I'd rather be compared, except maybe his father, GrandpaBastard (who unfortunately passed away several years ago).  They both tried repeatedly to talk me out of going into medicine (and surgery), since they knew first-hand the sacrifices I'd have to make.  But I think they just wanted to make sure my heart was really in it.

14) What's this lump on my ass?
I have no idea, but it's hideous.

15) Can I ask you other questions?
Yes.  See the disclaimer above.


  1. So, now that we finally learn a bit more about you: You have on some occasions mentioned that patients have commented on your age and that you look younger than you are, so I have wondered how old you really are. If you don't want to be exact, the decade you were born in would suffice (at least for me).

    A comment about ER doc and trauma surgeon: where I live there is not such a clear distinction between those two, the doctors that see people in the ER are surgeons that will on other days or parts of the shift operate on patients.
    But then, nobody comes into the ER for a sniffle. Thats what your physician is here for. They have a network where in every region they rotate being on call on nights and weekends, so when you need a physician out of their office hours you just call a hotline and are relayed to the on-call physician in your region.
    So, please don't be offended if people ask what the difference is or mix it up, they might know a different system from the one you work in.

    1. I think I can best describe myself as a Generation X baby.

      I feel sorry for your surgeons who have to take shifts in the ER. I think I'd rather stick hot pokers in my eye.

  2. Would it hurt too much to know your country? Or if you live in a small country like Lithuania, maybe your continent? I have trouble grasping the culture of the people which might influence certain decisions without a handle on location or even just primary ethnicities in your area.

    1. The best (or worst, I suppose) part about stupidity is that it transcends culture, race, religion, color, creed, and geography. Texting and driving is stupid no matter your ethnicity.

    2. Well, since we don't know your location or ethnicity, I would like to say that if English isn't your first language you are amazingly fluent, and even if it is I appreciate that you use language understanded by many dialects. (For example you may use multiple forms of measurement). Or maybe I'm just an American teen and assume that all peoples if English-speaking areas understand what I understand.

  3. As I've said, I take my patients', my family's, and my own privacy VERY seriously, and I hope everyone will respect that. I've already had one person comment where they think I live, so that and any other comments that threaten that privacy will be deleted.

  4. I know he's not American.

  5. Guys, he's from the planet pluto. I mean it only makes sense. Done mystery solved.

  6. Hey, do you know my reconstructive surgeon, Doc jackass?

    1. Unfortunately that could be pretty much any plastic surgeon. They tend to be VERY full of themselves, though I do know a couple who are well grounded.

  7. I think what you do is very admirable. I worked as a health care aide for years and it is amazing to see a doctor that cares about his patients they way that you do! Bravo!

    1. And to my knoweledge, he has never called a patient a "nasty bitch," which is very amazing that he shows so much restraint. Unless if he's keeping something from us…

  8. Hi Doc, my name is Chiara, I'm a 21-year-old from Italy, studying to become a psychologist! I work in a centre that helps women who've been victims of violence to recover and lead a happy life, and I was wondering if you ever come across this kind of trauma in your job. If you do and if you like the idea, it would be a great topic for one of your future matter where someone is from, they could use any encouragement if they are in that terrible position!
    That being said, I would like to thank you for what you do everyday and for what you post for us readers, you put a smile on my face even with your darker entries thanks to your spirit! If I ever need a trauma surgeon (and I sincerely hope I never do) I at least wish he's half a good person as you are.

    1. Hi Chiara

      Did you read this one?:

      That's the one that sticks in my mind but I'm sure there are others if you look over the archive.


  9. 3-in-1 combo pack comment! 1) Sorry I have to ask you this, but did you post an FML about your dog dying on Natl Dog Day? If so, the date of the post indicates that you're American. 2) Everybody, his FML profile says he's from Belgrade, Serbia, but I udon't believe that… 3) If you're not American, let me tell you that we have something called HIPAA here, they frown upon disclosing patient info, so don't tell us your location or name. (Am I starting to sound like a secret agent here?)

    1. 1) I've never owned a dog, so it was not I.
      2) I'm not from Belgrade, nor am I from any of the other cities I've used on my FML profile.
      3) I have several colleagues who have told me all about HIPAA, so I'm quite familiar with it. Don't worry - I won't divulge my identity.

  10. I think he's from the UK. Doc often says thinks like "Maths" and uses the letter U in words like "colour" and "honour" which are British. Of course that doesn't mean he actually is from the UK, but he's certainly not from the US as no American use U's in those words.

    1. Doc' may be from the UK but he doesn't work there - there was a picture of a street accident in one posting and it was certainly not a UK street. I think maybe he took it down as potentially identifying the city. I couldn't recognise it and waouldn't say if I could but it was not in the UK. Also, the terms that he uses for hospital departments (ER rather than A&E, for example) are not British ones.

      I think he's smart enough to use misleading regional spellings and phrases so I doubt there is much to learn from those.

      Why not just accept that he doesn't want people to know? The only thing that could be achieved by correctly identifying where he lives is to stop the man posting - and who wants that?

    2. Well said, Ugi. The other thing to keep in mind (for those of you itching to figure out where I live) is that there are about 1.3 billion English speakers in the world, and only 4% of them live in the UK.

  11. Hello Doc!
    You remind me of the elusive neighbor, Wilson, on the old TV show Home Improvement.
    Enjoyed your blog on the 2 Bastards who were your biggest influences : )
    Laughter is the Best Medicine .... and for that, I thank you!


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