Turns out doctors can be pigs too … who knew?

In fail, feminism, health, medicine on December 8, 2014 at 6:06 pm

So Saturday morning morning was weird. Was helping out at a CPD seminar the MJA ran. Ninety doctors in one room — mix of ages, mix of genders, mix of ethnicities.

I’ve never been one to put doctors on a pedestal, even more so since working with them, even though I respect their brains and work ethic. My dad’s experience as a young man taught him, and me, that doctors are fallible just like you and me.¬†And yet … And yet.

Turns out a room full of doctors who think they’re not being overheard can be as mean, condescending and brutally porcine as any other group.

Saturday’s proceedings started out with a presenter who decided that calling the woman who was handing around the microphone “the dancing girl” was acceptable.

In the course of his presentation he had reason to show on the big screen a photo of an obese man sitting in a plastic chair on a beach while two bikini-clad babes clowned around trying to pull him to his feet. “They’re not going to enjoy the view when they finally do get him up.” Apparently the audience found that hilarious.

That was the moment when I, the only obese non-doctor in the room, realised that I was feeling unsafe in what was essentially my workplace, and decided to sit out the rest of the presentation in the lobby.

The next speaker was talking about sleep apnoea and COPD (overlap syndrome).

Enter a photo of an index patient — an obese man in his late 50s, unshaven, on oxygen … “Can someone tell me something about this patient?” asks the presenter.

“He’s a blue bloater”, a doctor yells back. “Yes indeed” says the presenter.

Much hilarity ensues.

Every profession has its internal shorthand, God knows journos are no exception. And ‘blue bloater’ and ‘pink puffer’ are short descriptors of certain types of patient. I don’t care. It was appalling. Particularly to the only pink puffer in the room.

I guess it just came as a shock to find doctors, particularly GPs, being so … High school …

Disappointing. And yet, sadly unsurprising.

Anti-racing fanatics flog two dead horses for political gain

In animals, sport on November 6, 2014 at 12:20 am
This is how I'll remember Admire Rakti, thanks. Pic: Nicole Garmston

This is how I’ll remember Admire Rakti, thanks. Pic: Nicole Garmston

I’m not going to lie, I have some problems with the horse-racing industry.

I think there are definitely questions that need to be asked about how many horses are bred for racing and what happens to the ones who, inevitably, are going to win nothing. Jumps racing is an abomination and should be banned worldwide NOW. Jockeys need better protection. Horses need better protection from excited crowds. Drugs testing should be improved and ramped up.

But … there is nothing that outrages me more than watching anti-racing fanatics using the still-warm corpses of the two horses on Melbourne Cup Day as a platform for their own political purposes.

There was nothing — NOTHING — about the deaths of Admire Rakti and Araldo that was evenly vaguely related to cruelty.

Araldo’s incident was pure accident, nothing more, nothing less. An excitable, and excited, horse was spooked by an excited human doing something stupid — waving a flag in his face. He kicked out in the wrong place, breaking his hind leg when it went through a fence. Everyone at the race course, and at the equine hospital, did everything they could to not just save his life, but save his leg. He was eventually euthanised, not because it was all too much trouble, but because the life of a horse with a badly broken leg, even if he can ever stand again, is one of pain and disability. THAT would have been cruelty.

As for Admire Rakti … what a bloody tragedy. It’s clear from the preliminary autopsy and chief vet’s report, that he suffered a severe cardiac event — a heart attack, or irregular heartbeat, that he couldn’t recover from. It was completely unpredictable and from what I’ve heard and seen, there was no sign of it beforehand.

These horses are vetted, right up until the morning of the race. And again behind the barriers, they’re being watched pretty closely.

Of course, he was the favourite. Nobody wants to see the favourite scratched. So if there was a pre-race cover-up about the horse’s condition, then of course, yes, that should be investigated and dealt with.

But as far as I could see, as far as the TV experts could see, and as far as the vet behind the barriers could see, Admire Rakti was ears up, on his toes and ready and willing to race.

Human athletes drop dead for no reason. Remember Piermario Morosini? Miklos Feher? Remember Fabrice Muamba? He survived, but it was out of the blue and a damn close thing:

Yes, humans have a choice. But I truly believe racehorses love racing. They’re smart, strong, brave, beautiful creatures and I don’t for one minute think they would go as hard as they do if they didn’t enjoy it.

I was disgusted by the anti-racing lobby on Tuesday and yesterday. They have legitimate arguments to make, and plenty of support, but they did nothing but make themselves look like opportunistic extremists dancing on the graves of two horses who deserved more respect.

Shame on them.

Rest in peace Admire Rakti and Araldo.

Fairfax ditches the subs … and the experience, and the wisdom, and the facts and the quality

In fail, media, oxygen thieves on October 18, 2014 at 4:22 pm

I’ve gotta say my mind is somewhat blown about Fairfax ditching subeditors and photographers from their regional papers. Leaving aside the fact that professional news photographers are the heart of a newspaper, ffs … let’s just talk about the consequences of eliminating subs from the process.

Look, journos care about three things, getting the news quickly (preferably first), writing it up so it makes basic sense, and making the deadline. Journos, in general, don’t give a good goddamn about grammar or spelling. We care about making a snappy intro, getting it all the right order, making the point, and moving it down the chain.

Sometimes, because we have to do it quickly, we might type 2 instead of 3, or him instead of her, or god knows, then instead of than. Especially if we’re filing from a poxy mobile device.

Subs have saved my arse than I care to remember. Literally, saved my arse. Spelling, tenses, bloody apostrophes, and yes, FACTS. They check facts. Who knew? They don’t just take the journo’s word for it, though we usually wish they would. THEY CHECK SHIT TO MAKE SURE IT’S RIGHT.

But that’s not the only consequence of sacking all the subs. Subs are usually the older, more experienced, relatively wise heads in the newsroom. Lose the subs and the collective age of a newsroom drops about 20-30 years. Not to mention the IQ.

This is a STUPID decision for any company that cares about the quality of its product. It’s a great decision if you want to save money, of course and that’s basically all that matters today if you climb any higher up a news publisher’s ladder than editor.

Dumb, stupid, fucked-up decision.


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