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News Editor: Ken Wu email@example.com
Hari Haran GKT Medsoc President One of the privileges of being Medsoc President is that I get the opportunity to attend meetings with the presidents of the other London Medical Schools. By and large they are a likeable bunch, however, there is one notable excep- tion: David “Catchphrase” Smith. Never short of a motivational cliché, he has been heard saying things like “The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary”. Disliked by all, his attendance at our meetings is becoming farcical. Since his appoint- ment in September he is yet to make a useful contribution, and I am sure that this is a direct result of the fact that he is unable to tear himself away from his book “Being The Best Means Screwing The Rest”. Predictably his performance in the recent Presidents
Editor-in-Chief John Hardie examines his personality issues
social was equally pathetic. Well off the pace, he was last seen loitering outside the female lavatories having had his advances rebuffed by numer- ous local women! It speaks volumes that this is the best that Imperial have to offer and I can only see their unfor- tunate institution regressing further into the doldrums. GKT on the other hand continue to go from strength to strength, a fact substantiated when we recorded a clean sweep of victories in the recent football UH Cup Finals
Laura Brenner BL President What a successful month it’s been for us here at BL! With our RAG week having finished today I am very proud to say that we’ve smashed last year’s record of £109,000 raised in a week! Enjoy the special RAG pullout in this edition for all the juicy gossip. It’s also finals time for our fifth years and you can feel the nervousness in the air at W hitechapel. It’s made a lit- tle easier with some good news though as a recent study shows that our stu- dents came second (to another school with a mandatory BSc year) in the country in FPAS scores this year. With finals of course comes preparation for the Graduation Events and our VPs have been hunting down the best deals and venues for us. We’re also planning the BLSA Summer Ball which this year is themed around the 1950’s Grease Era, think American Diner, Rock and
Roll and fun fair rides it’s definitely going to be an unforgettable night! The date is set for the 14th of July and tickets will be going on sale very soon. It has also been announced that our beloved Warden’s successor has been chosen and we look forward to welcoming him into the BL family;; Richard Trembath will succeed Sir Nicolas Wright this summer and will, I’m sure, be keen to continue the out- standing supportive relationship be- tween our staff and students. Peace
Luke Turner SGUL President I have a very serious matter to bring to the attention of all UH students. ICSM President David Smith has been engaging in corporate espionage at St George’s. With a little more dig- ging, I discovered that his mother is our admissions tutor and his father is a consultant here. Firstly this begs the question, how in the hell did he still not get in!? I guess he is lucky Im- perial were willing to take him. Sec- ondly, what is he doing here? Is he just desperate to be a part of the finest medical school in the land or are his intentions more sinister? I recently in- terrogated David (More with Strong- bow and Sambuca than waterboard- ing) and he admitted making contact with Daily Mail reporters. I believe
he aims to divert attention away from Imperial’s recently sullied name with- in the tabloids by dragging us through the mud with him. Who knows? Per- haps he is still seeking revenge fol- lowing his rejection from George’s! I attempted to discuss his shady back room deals with Medgroup, but was quickly side- lined by GKT President Hari Haran. I suspect they are all in cahoots
harismatic authority. Isn’t that what the public ex- pects to see in their con- sultants and senior GPs? The cardiac-arrest alarms go off, the crash team hastily scuttles down the corridor, only to find the consultant anaesthetist already there with the sit- uation coolly in hand – Colgate smile and well-coiffed hairdo still intact. There is a minor pitfall here. These two words are strongly as- sociated with Max Weber’s defini- tion of the Cult of Personality. You know, that thing Stalin and Hitler did. Perhaps we should shy away from that one then. It’s time to tone down that sharp wit for the ward-round. After having completed your com- pulsory reading of the GMC’s Tomor- row’s Doctors, you might be under the impression that the omnipotent com- mission would prefer you to have no dis- tinguishable personal features whatso- ever. Aside f rom a different barcode on your ID badge, of course. It’s become
apparent that having a presence on social networking sites could put you in jeopardy as well (page 6). Huzzah. This month, we seem to have amassed a whole series of medics des- perate to create fascinating personas for themselves outside their day job. Max Pemberton, writing for The Daily Telegraph, was the insightful junior doctor struggling through his founda- tion years (page 10). Having adapted the column into a book, he shot to mi- nor journalistic-stardom. Although he’s since w ritten other books, he’s still best k now as ‘that junior doctor.’ Adam Kay turned his hand to the UH Com- edy Revue whilst at Imperial College, wrote a little ditty about his loathing of Transport for London, and a fair few people on the internet liked it ( page 18). Meanwhile, BBC Three’s jun- ior doctors, are currently trying to shake off some potentially career- long branding as ‘barbie’, ‘that one who failed her exams’ and ‘that mas- sive guy who plays rugby but can’t
get down the hospital corridor very quickly and looks like he’s about to have a heart attack himself’ (page 12). Here in the office, the edito- rial team are putting together the April issue - Macbook, latte and thick-rimmed glasses at hand, mull- ing over what impression they them- selves might possibly be radiating…
Find us on Facebook and Twitter medicalstudent newspaper (cont’d from front page) and in meet- ings up and down the country - does not support this Bill” to which he was greeted with a standing ovation. In ad- dition, his letter to Lansley stated: ‘‘the SRM also recognized that some aspects of the Bill have the potential to improve and safeguard care. In particular, mo- tions were carried supporting the prin- ciples of clinician-led commission- ing”. However, even this was met with concerns about how these commis- sions are intended to work in practice. The conclusion of the meet- ing was to call on the government to put a halt to the current plans, which was again passed with a nar- row majority. The general consen-
sus was summed up by public health physician, Dr Layla Jader: The NHS needs ‘evolution, not revolution’. A public statement given by the BMA on the SRM iterated that “the government should not be left in any doubt about the strength of feeling among the medical profession. Many doctors have serious concerns about the scale and nature of the planned reforms which are hugely r isky and, potentially, highly damaging” and that “the BMA will continue to publicise and oppose the damaging aspects of the Bill”. In a webcast where BMA members could pose questions to Lansley on the reforms, almost a third related to the lack of evidence prompting the shake-
/msnewspaper up. Many prompted for so-called ‘Ev- idence-Based Politics’. Travistoker, a blog run by senior BMA members, claimed Lansley was changing the NHS radically “without recourse to research, pilots or evaluations [which] seems to be anathema to doctors t rained to deliver evidenced-based medicine”. Without the support of the BMA and the people they represent, the government will find it increasingly difficult to put through their reforms without a serious rethink. Oppo- nents to the reforms should take this as a strong positive step, but should keep the pressure on the government to ensure protection of the NHS
Contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www. medical-student.co.uk
Editor-in-chief: John Hardie Assisstant editor: Amrutha Sridhar News editor: Ken Wu Features editor: Neha Pathak Comment editor: Sarah Pape Culture editor: Robyn Jacobs Doctors’ Mess editor: Abe Thomas Sports editor: John Jeffery Treasurer: Alexander Cowan-Sanluis Sub-editors: Martha Martin, Giada Azzopardi, Lucia Bianchi, Kiranjeet Gill, Hayley Stewart, Bibek Das Image editors: Chetan Khatri, Purvi Patel Distributing officer: Sevgi Kozakli
Day X exposed
Alex Nesbitt RUMS MSO
Ellis Onwordi reports from the ominously named event
t was estimated that up to 1000 people turned out on Wednes- day 9th March at the Royal London Hospital in the East End to protest against the govern- ment’s Health and Social Care Bill and planned hospital trust redundancies. The march was organised and led by Keep Our NHS Public, ‘Tow- er Hamlets Hands Off Our Public Services’ and ‘Right To Work’. It was joined by a diverse range of campaigners and workers alike. Doctors, nurses, a host of health workers, medical and nursing students, trade unionists and political activists gathered from 5pm to march to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in Smithfield, the City of London. Delegations from Bart’s, the Royal London, Homerton, Guy’s, St. Thomas’, King’s, University College and the Royal Free Hospitals made sure their voices were heard. The government’s proposed NHS reforms, absent both f rom the Conserv- ative and Liberal Democrat manifes- tos, and from the coalition agreement, has been met with widespread opposi- tion f rom healthcare workers and mem- bers of the public alike. Many have ex- pressed deep worries that the plans will result in a significantly increased pri- vate sector involvement in healthcare. Alastair, who attended the march and is a former patient at the Roy- al London and member of the an- ti-cuts and anti-privatisation cam- paign, the ‘Coalition of Resistance’, said the reforms “would be, in ef- fect, the privatisation of the NHS” and that the government will “break the NHS up into competing units”. The government plans to trans- fer 80% of the NHS budget into
250 or so newly created GP con- sortia. This would mean the aboli- tion of the 151 Primary Care Trusts and the 10 Strategic Health Authori- ties tasked with managing them. The government is also looking for services to be obtained by “any willing provider”, which, together with plans to increase patient choice by allowing people to select from approved private hospitals, has led the British Medi- cal Association and other trade un- ions to fear privatisation as the result. Michael Eliasz, a medical student at Guy’s, King’s and St. Thomas’ Medi- cal School, expressed his worry that private companies would “cherry-pick the simpler cases”, leaving the NHS to carry the burden of the more com- plicated and expensive procedures. Some are describing it as the biggest overhaul of NHS structure since its creation in 1948. As the Conservative Party ran its 2010 election campaign on the back of pledges such as ending top-down reorganisation of the NHS and announced their plans to “cut the deficit, not the NHS”, there was much bitter feeling among the protestors. A doctor who did not wish to be named described the Health Secre- tary Andrew Lansley’s Bill as “ideo- logical” and “highly destructive” and said it would “privatise healthcare and leave an inequality of healthcare throughout the UK”. She also re- ferred to government claims that the NHS budget is due to be increased in cash terms as “complete whitewash- ing”, and said that such words, when thousands of posts are due to be cut in hospitals across the UK, are “massive- ly demoralising for the public sector”. Barts and the Royal London have
planned 630 redundancies, includ- ing the cutting of 250 nursing and 83 other clinical posts (including doc- tors’ positions), and 100 beds. Resent- ment was most keenly felt outside a branch of the 84% nationalised RBS, defended by police lines, in Aldwych. Protestors chanted: “Health cuts? No way – make the greedy bankers pay!” A similar confrontation ensued outside Deutsche Bank, where some members of staff were witnessed waving wads of money from win- dows at the evidently riled protestors. They were met with calls to “jump”. Bishopsgate was blocked by an im- promptu sit-in staged by 200 demon- strators as protestors sang: “If you hate Andrew Lansley, clap your hands” and “No ifs, not buts, not public sector cuts”. Dr Rose Taylor, who works as a GP in Hackney and was on the march, questioned the logic behind asking medically-trained professionals to ap- ply themselves in management. “It is very tempting to offer GPs more say in the services they can provide for their patients. However, there will be a conflict of interest between the GPs who will hold all the money and the patients because...when I’m hold- ing the purse strings, I’m going to start considering the costs. The pa- tient then won’t know whether I’m making the decisions based on their best medical interests or on the costs.” Dr Taylor stated that “the PCTs carry out an enormously helpful ser- vice in enabling us GPs”, and that the plans to scrap them would re- sult in enlisting “more expensive” private commissioners to do the job she feels GPs are not trained to do
The last month has been a busy one for RUMS. I’d like to congratulate the new group of officers elected. We’ve also had our Spring Ball and AGM, where we passed motions on the NHS Health & Social Care Bill and Widening Par- ticipation. Planning our Sports, Sum- mer and Finalist Balls has been anoth- er hive of activity. We’re also working on some research around Workplace Based Assessment to improve the
student experience in this area and are looking forward to progress on the renovation of a student com- mon room at the Royal Free Hospital. Look out for the big opening par- ties of our brand new union build- ing at the new Huntley Street
David Smith ICSM President It causes me great sadness to see that my colleagues at lesser institutions are running a vicious smear campaign against myself and ICSM. St George’s President Luke Turner was so upset that he failed to get into Imperial (his personal statement must have been lit- tered with the same type of hideous grammatical errors as his report) that he t ried to sabotage our R AG week, in- forming Imperial students that raising money for dying children was illegal. In spite of this, we still destroyed them in the fundraising stakes, leaving him with no choice but to spread lies about my d rinking ability. I have alerted the St George’s admissions tutor and a senior consultant at the hospital to his misde- meanours. I am even more shocked and appalled to see GKT Medsoc (they’re not even allowed a Union) ‘President’ Hari Haran criticise my ability with the fairer sex. Jealous of my obvious popularity, he behaved the only way he k nows how and whipped out his one inch wonder to widespread disgust. I expected nothing more from a student at this poorly regarded polytechnic.
Our sports teams continue to dom- inate, with ICSM easily beating St George’s 25-10 in the UH Rugby final. George’s were just happy to be there for the first time, after the match pro- gramme had been prematurely printed with GKT listed as the other finalist. The annual JPR Williams rugby match against Imperial College RFC saw the medicals completely dominate our ri- vals for the ninth year in a row. The Drama Society put on a fantastic per- formance of James & The Giant Peach and the Light Opera Society pulled off a spectacular performance of ‘Glee The Musical’ with only 24 hours to prepare. We were once again contacted by the Daily Mail asking for help with a story about fees. We felt it best to refer them on to the BMA, as it is well k nown that dealing with the Mail causes cancer
Anil Chopra ULU Medgroup Chair
There seems to be some sort of message here... Image by Ellis Onwordi
The spirit of intra-London rivalry was strong as ever at our last Medgroup meeting. The behaviour of some of the SU Presidents, specifically those of Imperial, St Georges and GKT was particularly delightful. After drink- ing at Guy’s bar, they were at it - hair pulling, full on slapping and even the throwing of handbags, David, Luke, and Hari gave us a catfight that would have made even Jerry Springer proud. It’s a good job they will be out of office soon... Congratulations to the officers of the newly elected student unions for the year 2011-12. It was good to see that of the elections taking place most positions were contested at the schools. For the medical schools who are yet to have elections, please do consider run- ning for positions on the Union;; its in- credibly rewarding not only because of the service that you will provide to
students, but also the people that you meet and the skills that you will gain. On the note of intra-London r ivalry, one of the oldest competitions, RAG, has dominated the past few months and I am pleased to see that it is still a pop- ular tradition (especially at Barts!). As medical students we need to embrace RAG. It is NOT just for freshers;; it’s an integral part of medical school life and should be enjoyed by all students. Please do come down and sup- port your schools at the UH Revue, Bumps and UH athletics. Being the social bunch that we are, Medgroup have also decided that they will be coming to each school’s Sum- mer Ball – look our for our table!
News The financial pains of graduate medicine
Branavan Rudran reports on St Georges RAG vs TfL
Throwing hats at graduation. More like throwing money into the air
Ben Goodman Guest writer Most graduates wishing to study Med- icine will soon need to find around £70,000 cash upfront before being able to accept their place at medical school. The decision to become a doctor is an expensive one for all due to the length of training, but financial pressures are particularly challenging for graduates since government support is limited for those undertaking a second degree. Although generous provision is made by the NHS for students on Gradu- ate/Professional Entry Programmes, places on such schemes are exremely competitive and in short supply. he majority of graduates actually enrol on undergraduate courses, where they now make up a significant proportion of the medical student demographic. For people with previous experi- ences of higher education, the need to support themselves through medical
school involves not only being able to cover living expenses, but also having immediate funds available for tuition fees since graduates are not eligible for tuition fee loans. Even as it stands, this is difficult. While the NHS pays the final year fees, graduate students pay around £3300 for four years without finicial support. For the fortunate few who have come from well remuner- ated careers, this is just about possible with careful management of finances. Medicine, however, attracts appli- cants from an exceptionally diverse range of backgrounds, which means for many the door to medical school remains firmly shut and the hope of becoming a doctor is relegated to the status of unaffordable pipedream. No one is in any doubt that all med- ical schools will need to charge the maximum rate when fees are raised to £9000 in 2012. It is important to be aware that the government’s prom- ise that no one need pay fees up front does not apply to graduates - who will
still be expected to cover tuition fees on demand without support. Some fi- nancial assistance is available for liv- ing costs in the form of a maintenance loan, but this generally only covers around half of a single person’s outgo- ings in any given year, excluding fees. The funding problem has further been exacerbated by the withdrawal of Pro- fessional Development Loans which were previously available to medical students from the UK’s three largest banks. With few facilities to borrow from, a graduate medical student on a standard course will therefore need to have £36k plus half of their liv- ing costs actually in their pockets be- fore being able to start their studies. With the tight constraints imposed on the NHS budget, it is unlikely that any further GEP places will become available, so this raises the question of what will happen to the graduate medical student population once the new fee regime is in place. Undoubt- edly competition for the already mas-
sively oversubscribed accelerated pro- grammes will become even fiercer, since candidates on such courses only pay fees for one year so the increase over the full course will be a relative- ly modest £6000. For the many that would normally have looked to un- dergraduate courses, what has un- til now been a difficult sacrifice will immediately descend into an absolute impossibility. Unless a graduate is able to rock up to medical school with £70k (estimated as four years of tui- tion fees plus half the living expenses for five years) cash in their hand, they will be forced to abandon their dream. We are looking at a transforma- tion of the proverbial landscape. Some five year courses currently have a graduate population as high as 60%, but we may see 2012 usher in a new era (or rather, a return to a pre- vious one) of medical school becom- ing, for graduates at the very least, the preserve of the very wealthy
St Georges RAG week was put to a halt this week by the threat of arrest by the TfL authorities. The traditional ‘mashing’ was cancelled to the displeasure of many keen Georges Raggers. RAG week, “raise and give” to the layman, is definitely the highlight of the charity calendar whether it be for Imperial, UCL, St Georges, Kings or Barts. There is a contagious enthusiasm which sweeps the universities for the fortnight where all events are dedicated to the various charities that the universities support. At St Georges, there is an additional buzz about retaining its reputation as the most successful university at raising money during RAG week. One of the most crucial elements of the week, which is also one of the most enjoyable, is ‘mashing’. This year, something rather bizarre was to halt this tradition. It was the threat of arrest by the Transport for London authorities! Who would have thought that the men and women who ensure the prompt arrival of our trains, immaculate carriages and wonderful services would get in the way of this beautiful charity initiative? A certain song called the ‘London Underground song’ by Amateur Transplants (who were ironically London medical students and are now fully qualified doctors) comes to mind, with lyrics such as “they are such greedy c****, I want to shoot them all with a rifle”. If you are unaware of this song please listen to it after you finish reading this article. I was thoroughly enjoying my RAG experience, singing a little song with my lovely ukulele partner, when upon our arrival back at St Georges to return our bulging buckets, we were told that we were forbidden to return to the tubes as the TfL had threatened any other student with arrest. Since when did dressing up as a buxom nurse cause offense? We were even offered £5 for a feel by builders! With my dignity gone and ‘mashing’ banned, what else do we have left? The SGUL President, Luke Turner said that while he was extremely sad to cut RAG short, “As a Students’ Union, our first priority is to our student body, not to RAG. For this reason, with the threat of arrest (and a subsequent criminal record) for students who are all studying professional courses, we had no choice but to cancel ‘Mashing’. TfL refused to comment. Classic.
Diary of an FY1 Junaid Fukuta on learning through new experiences
wo weeks into my job and I am starting to feel a bit more comfortable. Don’t get me wrong, I still don’t feel like a doctor, not even a baby doctor. I feel more like a ‘your-father-has- got-a-glint-in-their-eye’ doctor. I still get lost in the hospital partly because, like all NHS hospitals, it seems like the building was built by an architect on speed who thought the maze at Hampton Court Palace was not hard enough. So when I go to request that 15th CT scan from Dr ‘No’, the radi- ologist, (and yes he said no to my re- quest) I somehow end up in the back of the pharmacists’ rest room. Although I often get lost and don’t quite know how everything works, it is getting easier, I am starting to prioritise my jobs correctly and the ward is start-
ing to run less like a bomb had hit it and more like a car production line. So things were going ‘hunky dory’ until I had my first experience of the marvels of HR. My friend summed up HR with these wise words, “I am all up for the NHS having an equality and di- versity policy, but why put all the peo- ple with learning difficulties in HR?” Their miraculous work now means that due to the rota/annual leave my team will all be on call and that I will be r un- ning the show by myself on Tuesday morning, but will have to finish every- thing by 13:00 as that is when I am sup- posed to go on call. Eight hours worth of work normally done by three peo- ple, to be done in four by my lonesome self. So I go home and spend the whole of Monday night crapping my pants. Next morning, I walk onto the ward
with a false sense of confidence hop- ing no one can sense my fear. Then the board round starts. Now for those of you who turn up to the wards at 12:00 and ask to clerk a patient you will nev- er have come across this phenomenon. Basically the MDTs have a meeting in the morning to track the progress of all our patients…essentially it means we all have a bitch about why none of the nursing/residential homes will take our medically fit patients before they catch their f ifth pneumonia. It goes smoothly enough and I start my ward round, but half way through I get interrupted to see one of the patients who is unwell. Whilst r ushing over to the other side of the ward I thought to myself “shit, shit- ting bollocks why did she decide to get ill today” and I am presented with my first sick patient. I get a flashback to
The medical registrars are the ghostbusters of the hospital
my first day when my consultant said: “the one thing you will learn this year is how to recognise a sick patient”, and I think to myself well hell I am 11 months ahead of schedule in that case! I stop and think: ABC, do ABC and you can’t go wrong. That is what everyone says, and you know what, it actually worked, it took me an hour of cannulating, running tests and sprint- ing across the hospital to the ABG machine but I felt like I did a half de- cent job and she seemed to pick up, so I swagger off feeling all heroic and continue my ward round. Two hours later I finally finish said ward round with no real incident so go back to check on my patient where I found that she looked sicker than before.
“Oh crap! Six years of medical school down the drain after my first sick patient” After reassessing her I have no more answers. I literally have no idea what to do. I start feeling hot. The nurse is looking at me expectantly to sputter some words of calm reassur- ance or even some ideas…but noth- ing comes to mind. It is the most hor- rendous feeling to realise you are out of your depth and worst of all I have a patient sick in front of me, with no immediate back up. The nurse quickly senses that I am quickly losing the plot with my silent gasping and suggests:
“how about calling the med reg?” Now the medical registrars are the ghostbusters of the hospital, no mat- ter who asks the question: “who you gonna call?” The answer is: “the med reg” (cue ghostbusters theme tune). I quickly grab the phone and talk to the medical registrar, who asks “where is your team?” and I reply f rantically “I am the team!” She calms me down and reassures me that I am doing the right things and asks me to do a few more tests before she comes across to review the patient. She arrives and I give a sigh of relief as she spends about five minutes looking through the patient’s notes and then reviews the patient. Af- terwards she tells me her impression is that the patient will die. I am dumb- founded. I feel as if I have screwed up. Was there something I didn’t do? Oh crap! Six years of medical school down the drain after my first sick pa- tient. The registrar quickly spots these thoughts crossing my mind and says : “you will learn how to recognise the sick patient but you will also learn how to recognise the dying one too.” W hilst battling to save her life I never thought to ask the question whether the pa- tient was too far beyond saving. With those words the med reg asks that the family be informed and writes up her notes and leaves in a most matter-of- fact way. As I see her silhouette in the light of the doorway I realise there is so much yet to learn and most of it will be through experiences like these
Wars, religion and bureaucracy: this is medicine, not politics Sally Kamaledeen Guest writer On a grey Monday afternoon in Sep- tember, the first day of term, I found myself begrudgingly back in my medi- cal school’s tangerine-walled lecture theatre, fondly reminiscing about my summer. It suddenly dawned on me how my world has come full circle. I last sat in that same seat three months ago, and during that time, I had one of the most eye-opening and extraor- dinary experiences of my life: partici- pating in ReCaP, the Refugee Camp Project in the West Bank, Palestine. A joint collaboration between The Student Movement of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nucle- ar War (IPPNW) and the Palestinian branch of the International Federation of Medical Students (IFMSA-Pales- tine), ReCaP aims to raise awareness of the political and socioeconomic sit-
uation of Palestinian refugees, and is open only to 8-9 medical students f rom around the world every year. Through a series of lectures and workshops dur- ing the first week given on Al-Quds University campus in Abu Dis by its academics and Palestinian medical students, I began to piece together for myself the intricacies of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict and the everyday struggle of living under occupation, of both ordinary Palestinians and those living in refugee camps. A talk by men- tal healthcare workers from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) about the psychological impact and trauma suffered by Palestinian refugees, es- pecially children, was insightful and prepared us in advance for our West Bank refugee camp visits, which start- ed from the second week of the pro- gramme after moving to Bethlehem. We organised play-time activities for refugee camp children, and it was an
incredibly heart-warming and reward- ing experience to see all our discus- sions and planning efforts as a group come to life by watching the children playing and enjoying their time with us. Clinical attachments take place at various hospitals in Bethlehem and at UNRWA clinics, providing much- needed medical care to the refugee camps, settings which felt worlds apart from what I had grown used to in the UK. I witnessed the bureau- cratic difficulties endured by Pales- tinian doctors trying to refer patients for urgent treatment at more advanced and better equipped Israeli hospitals, and saw how over-stretched and un- der pressure the refugee healthcare system really is. Many doctors saw nearly 200 patients daily, with very little medical care and drugs to offer. The project also includes many t rips to various towns and cities in both the West Bank and Israel. On these trips, I fully experienced and compared the
lives of Palestinians and Israelis, at times feeling that despite being sepa- rated by only the thin grey slabs of the Separation Wall, they live complete- ly different lives on parallel planets. The f ive weeks I spent participating in ReCaP were the richest and most in- spiring moments in my life. It is a once in a lifetime experience for those want- ing to gain a comprehensive knowl- edge of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
and to use their skills to bring smiles to the faces of some of the world’s most deprived children. All I have now are the incredible memories, and I only have to close my eyes to see the smil- ing, innocent faces of the refugee camp children, as they skip and jump on their tiny, happy feet, hands on waist, to the tune of the traditional, quintessen- tially Palestinian dance of Dabkeh
Anatomy teaching. Colouring-in style. Image by Sally Kamaledeen
News Facebook or face the GMC? Anand Ramesh Guest writer Social networking sites have become an ubiquitous part of modern life and have arguably revolutionised commu- nication with others. According to the Office of National Statistics, in 2010, 75% of 16-24 year olds used these sites for messaging purposes, and one in two uploaded user created content. Such sites remove long distances as barriers to maintain contact with peo- ple, and offer a wealth of ways to share details of your life amongst friends. The concept of doing this at a mouse click is unsurprisingly appealing. But can these sites be dangerous, and possibly even jeopardise a per- son’s medical career? It has in fact al- ready happened. A junior doctor was suspended for six months in 2008 for making offensive remarks about Pro- fessor Dame Carol Black (a UK gov- ernment advisor for health and work) on the doctors.net.uk website, an in- ternet forum for doctors. Now clear- ly there are a few issues to consider- there is a spectrum of online behaviour which could conceivably be interpret- ed as unacceptable, there is the right to freedom of expression and there is the dividing line between one’s pri- vate life and professional responsibili- ties for which an appropriate balance must be struck. In issues where patient confidentiality is breached through careless posting online, then it is a no brainer that this is unacceptable. In the case of inappropriate comments about bosses, or fellow members of
staff, the stance should still be fairly clear-cut in my opinion. The afore- mentioned junior doctor’s comments could be attributable to a momentary fit of passion, but any kind of insulting message towards an individual could be tantamount to libel. Even in a ‘pri- vate’ arena, it seems fundamentally unwise to post potentially inflamma- tory comments online, as the Internet is naturally never totally secure. Free- dom of speech is a relevant issue, but in medicine, where doctors are subjected to intense scrutiny and where behav- iour is so tightly regulated, it is prob- ably not a good idea to justify dodgy online behaviour on this premise. The examples above probably don’t apply so much to medical students and will no doubt be more relevant as junior doctors and beyond. For us, it is more likely to be evidence of inappropriate behaviour on social networking sites that could cause trouble i.e. incrimi- nating photos of drunken antics etc. The GMC emphasises that “your con- duct at all times justifies your patient’s trust in you and the public’s t rust in the profession.” So consider the reaction of an employer or patient if they stumble across a picture of their future doctor collapsed in a puddle of their own vom- it outside a bar or club. Medicine, more than any career, is based on projecting an image of absolute professionalism at all times, and it is this that under- pins public trust in doctors. Anything that might undermine this impression doctors must convey could poten- tially cause trouble, and is thus best avoided, even if to you, such behav- iour is confined to your personal life.
Research in brief ICSM: Sugary drinks can increase blood pressure by as much as 1.6mmHg systolic and 0.8mmHg diastolic for each can consumed per day, according to a study of nearly 2700 people by researchers at Imperial. The increase was particularly marked in people who consumed excess salt as well as sugar. A general link was also found between sugary drink consumption and a less healthy diet. Published in Hypertension. RUMS: New research has found that the initial treatment of people infected with drug resistant strains of HIV was three times more likely to fail than of those infected with non drug-resistant strains. This could help the initial treatment of millions of people worldwide as we can give them the most beneficial combinations of retroviral drugs possible to prevent their treatment from failing. Published in Lancet Infectious Diseases.
Facebook: friend or foe? Image by Chetan Khatri This article is however, not in- tended to scaremonger. According to a GMC spokesman, they do not ac- tively monitor Facebook so there is no Orwellian style surveillance and secondly, it is incredibly easy to ad- just privacy settings to ensure only desirable onlookers i.e. your friends, can view your antics, which mini- mises the risk of being caught out.
So at the end of the day it’s not really rocket science: don’t share material that could be misconstrued with the whole world, exercise common sense online, and you shouldn’t experience any trouble. Or alternatively, avoid the issue by not using social networks al- together: believe it or not, things like telephones and emails do still exist
Hallucinating away the disease of depression Vamsee Bhrugubanda on an illusionary cure
new treatment for severe depression is being tried out for the first time in the UK by a team of medi- cal researchers from Imperial Col- lege London along with Professor David Nutt who works at the Univer- sity of Bristol. However, this is not an ordinary clinical trial as the drug being tested would normally alarm most people. The specially licensed trial is attempting to get a better un- derstanding of the effects of Psilocy- bin in healthy subjects. All forms of this substance have been classified as illegal under the Drugs Act 2005. Psilocybin is naturally found in f un- gi known as magic mushrooms. They have been long known as psychoactive drugs. The drug functions by acting as an agonist of the neural regulator serotonin at certain receptors in the
brain (HT2A and HT1A). Serotonin is involved in many functions including regulation of cognitive functions such as states of mind. This would explain some of its many effects as psilocybin essentially partially mimics serotonin.
“Medical researchers are spending resources and time on a drug that functions in ways that disable some of our most important capabilities” One effect that the drug has been known to induce very well is a pro- found alteration of perception as well as profound experiences that have been described as spiritual in nature. These experiences may have the potential to permanently alter ones’ perception
long after the effect the drug has worn off. Prolonged psychosis has also been found to occur at times though the ef- fects are normally said to wear out after a few hours. The subject gets the feel- ing of being taken away on a ‘trip’ re- moved from the immediate setting. In- terestingly, this altered perception can either be a very positive experience or a very negative one, depending on the setting and state of mind of the subject. While the drug clearly has many strong effects it works in a rather counterintuitive way. Brain activity has actually been shown to fall rather than increase due to its effects. This paradox can be explained by the fact that the areas of the brain that expe- rience reduced activity are those that focus our sense of self. Under its influ- ence it is possible to forget ourselves and the surroundings around us. This
can easily be very damaging and even dangerous as it is exactly this knowl- edge of limitations and threats that al- lows us to avoid and solve problems. A reasonable question to ask would be why medical researchers are spend- ing resources and time on a drug that functions in ways that disable some of our most important capabilities. Clearly temporarily forgetting about a problem or an illness does not make it vanish. The answer to this being that it would be very useful in breaking or altering a mindset that is the cause of illness itself. Some conditions such as severe depression or even obses- sive compulsive disorder involve pat- terns of behaviour or thought that cause much more harm than good. However, that is far in the future and for now Psilocybin remains a hal- lucinogen with interesting effects
BL: Researchers at QMUL have identified new genetic variants linked with an increased risk of developing coronary artery disease (CAD). By comparing 22,000 CAD patients with 64,000 healthy patients, 13 genes were discovered that increased the risk of CAD by up to 17%. Published in Nature Genetics. St Georges: A new clinical trial is starting at St George’s to investigate a potentially lifesaving treatment for Marfan Syndrome, which affects one in 3,300 people in the UK. Using a £1.4million grant from the British Heart Foundation, the trial will involve 500 patients with Marfan Syndrome. The study will look at whether Irbesartan, a blood pressure drug, could prevent expansion of the aorta, thereby reducing the need for surgery. GKT: A new computer program is being used for the first time at KCL’s Institute of Psychiatry to detect changes in the brain that could indicate early signs of Alzheimer’s disease. The program was developed in conjuction with the Karolinska Hospital in Sweden, and aims to provide an 85% accurate diagnosis within 24 hours. Using ‘Automated MRI’ software, the patient’s brain will be compared to over 1000 images showing varying stages of Alzheimer’s. It is hoped that early diagnosis will enable patients to manage the disease more effectively.
News The Ultra Marathon Benjamin Perry on whether he has really gone too far this time
he Comrades Ultra-mar- athon is known as the 'Ul- timate Test of Human En- durance'. It represents a 56 mile running race between the cities of Durban and Pietermaritz- burg in South Africa on the 29th May. It's the largest ultra-marathon in the world, and is the most popu- lar sporting event in South Africa bar none. As well as having thou- sands upon thousands of spectators, the event gains live TV coverage for
the full duration of the race. People actually enjoy watching running for hours and hours on end. Crazy, I k now. If you don’t complete the gruelling course within the 12 hour time limit – you are disqualified. If you cross the line in 12:00:01, the organizers will turn their backs on you - no medal, no finishing time. The only solace com- ing f rom the fact that the f irst ‘non-fin- isher’ as it were becomes an overnight celebrity in South Africa – gaining front-page status due to the effort of
having ran 56 miles for absolutely no reward. Last year, out of the 23,568 en- trants, only 14,343 finished within the 12 hour limit;; just 60%. In compari- son, the average finish rate of the Lon- don marathon, a challenge that most would seem difficult enough, is a com- forting 99%. The race alternates di- rection every year – between the more uphill ‘up’ run, and the more down- hill ‘down’ run. It happens that I’m running on an ‘up’ year thus climb- ing a net height of around 2300 feet.
Cutting a very long (56-mile, or 90km;; to be exact) story short – it’s hard;; a definite challenge for even the most hardy of athletes. I am going to run it, all in the name of my speci- fied charity, Mencap, and the Barts and The London RAG campaign. Mencap is the voice of learning dis- ability. Everything they do is about valuing and supporting people with a learning disability and their families and carers. Being able to complete such a special achievement for such a special charity really excites me. I signed up for this monstrosity last September, after having returned from crossing the Berlin Marathon finish line in 3:10:03 (qualifying me for not only a coveted Boston Mara- thon place, but also a ballot-free en- try into the 2012 London Marathon.) So you could say I was on a bit of a high. It seemed like a great idea, and it was over eight months away. All was f ine until I picked up ‘What I Talk About When I Talk About Run- ning,’ Haruki Murukami’s autobiog- raphy and ode to his most important muse. In the book he describes his
battle with a similarly distanced ultra- marathon to the Comrades. He intri- cately takes the reader through all the physical and mental agonies along the way, describing in detail the feeling at 40 miles in which he felt as though his legs were being d riven through a meat- grinder, and even more-so the near-re- ligious experience he had at 50 miles when he knew he was going to finish. I therefore made myself a plan. I’m currently running around 2 mara- thons every week, with a weekly mile- age total of around 80 miles. This is not only incredibly physically drain- ing, but it is taking a heck of a lot of mental strength. It’s fine running the 26.2 miles of the London Marathon when you have a million scream- ing spectators to keep you moving, but when your long runs are most- ly spent in rural Essex with only the occasional beeping car and a lot of trees, it’s quite hard to motivate your- self to keep going, week after week. If I only ever do one great thing for charity – this is it. Maybe this will inspire you to one day do something great for charity too
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32 years, 18 countries, 3 careers and still counting
Playing the hero. Image provided by Dr Alex van Tulleken
Rashmi D’Souza & Sana Ajmi Guest Writers
In a few weeks you will be sitting in that sweltering exam room, deliberat- ing between option B or C on that te- dious MCQ paper, dreaming of when you find yourself sitting on that plush swivel chair in a GP practice sur- rounded by a leafy suburban utopia. But have you considered straying from the narrow road of foundation
years, specialist training and con- sultancy? We sought an interview from the man who has done just that - Dr Alexander van Tulleken. Ox- ford graduate, Channel 4’s ‘Medi- cine Men Go Wild’ presenter, global health doctor and only 32 years young. So how did he embark on his journey into the murky jungles of Global Health? “As soon as I was able to work overseas, I did. Darfur was in the headlines at that time: everyone knew about Darfur – it was a very promi- nent disaster. I thought it would be ex- tremely difficult to get a job in a place
I assumed everybody would want to work, but in fact I don’t think there were any other applicants for my post.” Why not? Considering every medi- cal UCAS statement proclaims aspi- rations of saving the world, it seems strange that just six years later newly qualified doctors seem reluctant to venture outside the safety of the de- veloped world. Perhaps Xandy, as he is known to his twin brother - co-host of ‘Medicine Men Go Wild’, and fellow global health conspirator, can explain. “I think you’re more constrained than I was. When I qualified you could
do a six month training post and then take six months off and then come back - it was much more flexible. I think it’s probably more difficult now
“The difference you make will probably be less practical and more symbolic” for a junior doctor to work overseas.” He seemed adamant that get- ting out of sheltered little Britain and
‘finding yourself’ made you a bet- ter doctor, think gap year, but bigger. “A doctor who has spent time over- seas or engaged in public health as a global issue will have a much more nuanced view of the culture in medi- cine, of the role of individual experi- ence - of the patient - than you will if you’ve only gone through normal western biomedical training which just prepares you for the set of ill- nesses you’d encounter in a hospital in the UK. The main medicine tur- bine in the West now is evidence based medicine that imposes an idea of ra-
tionality which very often isn’t there.” On a different note, we’re sure many of you selflessly sacrificed careers of world-wide fame to become modest doctors, but Dr van Tulleken proves that the two are not mutually exclu- sive. He has co-presented the docu- mentary about alternative medicine in ‘Medicine Men Go Wild’, hosted the BBC’s ‘Secret Life of Twins’ and ap- peared in various TV documentaries. Referring to the media he says “the power of narrative to highlight an issue is extraordinary. If you’re able to find an individual with a compelling story - putting a face to an illness, putting a face to a social problem - it means that people are able to understand it more easily and engage with it better.” And what about working so closely with his twin brother, Dr Christoffer van Tulleken? “I think we get along ex- tremely well. But anyone who’s worked with us would know that we shout at each other constantly. It’s fantastic be- cause I’m unconstrained in what I say. When we were climbing in the Hima- layas he was five minutes ahead of me the whole day and by the time I arrived at the tents he’d got my sleeping bag out, made tea and started cooking dinner. I was completely exhausted and he was like, ‘Oh Xandy, how are you doing?’, and I just burst into tears.” Bless them. But even with such support there must have been challenges? “Darfur was the best example of not being able to do what you’d like to do. My way of coping was to find another role I was performing, as someone who can advocate. If you go to Darfur expecting that you can fix the problem by building a hos- pital you’re fundamentally wrong.” “Darfur is a political crisis and you don’t fix a political cri- sis by sending healthcare workers.” “The difference you make will probably be less practical and more symbolic. You’re always frustrated, you’re always constrained, but be- ing able to see it, being able to ac- company people through it and to try and do some medicine in some small way is as much as you can do.” This viewpoint is strikingly dif- ferent to the polished awe-inspiring sermons you see on brochures ad- vertising volunteering opportuni- ties. It resonates with pragmatism and the sense of the true hardships involved, which does far more to tempt us off the tarmacked road and into the jungles of global health. We wondered if he has any reserva- tions about not climbing up the conven- tional professional ladder and it seems not even the most philanthropic among us is exempt from having doubts. “The thing that plagues me is the ‘what will I do when I grow up’ problem. At 32 I’m still balancing decisions about whether I continue clinical medicine, whether I can work for the UN or international organisations, or whether I should work for the private sector or academia.” “I think global health careers often
Features take longer to assemble than UK col- league equivalents, who have a secure salary and a secure structure. That for me is deadlock thing, I look at some of my students and wonder at what point will you be offering me a job?” We were humbled by this - it seems astonishing that a televised globe trot- ter who has travelled to more than eighteen different countries doing the work he loves, can still wonder ‘what he will do when he grows up’. Despite this he speaks high- ly of this career route, regard- less of the lack of structure. “We have a very organic network in global health, it unites people because there aren’t that many people who do
“I was completely exhausted...I just burst into tears” it. The more structured it is, the more constraining it becomes. The most im- portant thing is that it retains independ- ence – a maverick quality which does not come with the severe political con- straints of a lot of aspects of healthcare.” He makes a career in global health seem fickle and elusive - a career not for the faint-hearted. He has convinced us that exploring the wilderness might open our eyes past the blinkers of bio- medical rationality, integrate with other societies and could even get you on TV. Oh, and it might just make you a better doctor
Gap Yah? Davina Kaur Patel Guest Writer
“Gap year? Why would you take a gap year in the middle of med school?” – these were my initial thoughts when two of my friends ran- domly struck up the idea one day in my second year of medical school. I am Davina Kaur Patel, a medi- cal student at UCL and I am writ- ing from Durban in South Africa. While initially dismissing the con- cept of a gap year, during the first year of clinical training I found that my attitudes towards the notion of a gap year had changed. As each heavy day at the hospital passed, the pros- pect of a year away in order to pursue a whole host of opportunities that my continuous education never permit- ted seemed increasingly appealing. Having developed a strong inter- est in global health during my Inter- national Health BSc and co-presi- dency of UCL Medsin, I increasingly felt the need to explore opportunities open to me to gain further experi- ence in this field, beyond the univer- sity setting. I now craved exposure to this world and further insight into how I could be involved in addressing global health concerns in a positive way as a future medical professional. In this quest I eagerly applied for an
internship with the Department of Ma- ternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health and Development (an area of particular interest to me) at WHO HQ in Geneva, and was accepted to start in September 2010. Despite not contem- plating my plans beyond an internship, I, without hesitation, accepted this op- portunity. Suddenly my gap year had become a reality and I felt great an- ticipation about what was to ensue. First year clinics came to a close and, after a short break, I moved to Ge- neva to embark on this new adventure. Over the coming weeks I immersed myself into the world of the WHO. Not only did I work on interesting projects such as writing for the WHO Nutrition Review and editing videos for commu- nity health worker training materials, but I also attended seminars, work- shops, Spanish classes, and confer- ences, meeting many intelligent and inspiring individuals along the way. I embraced Geneva’s wonderful so- cial scene and the fascinating blend of students that the city continues to at- tract. Each day, work would inevita- bly follow with some sort of activity be it sipping wine by the lake, going to ice hockey matches, hosting din- ners, or tucking into pots of gooey and deliciously salty cheese fondue at the Bains des Paquis. Overall, the expe- rience was an unforgettable one that solidified my ambitions in this field. As my time at the WHO came to a close in December, I was offered an internship post on a new public health research evaluation on the effective- ness of community health workers on
the uptake of essential ‘prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV’ (PMTCT) interventions, to be con- ducted in the HIV-stricken province of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. Be- ing a continuation of some work that I performed and was enthralled by at the WHO, I jumped at this oppor- tunity, and quickly decided to move to the city of Durban, South Af- rica, for a period of three months. So today, I am living in Durban working the WHO-initiated Public Health Evaluation with a local univer- sity-based team, called the ‘20,000+ Partnership’, and am enjoying the work thoroughly. Every day I am interacting with and learning from local clinics, hospitals, district and provincial DoH staff as well as experienced and inspir- ing researchers in the area of PMTCT. I have already quickly settled into the beautifully relaxed South Af- rica way of life. I have spent days working, relaxing by the beach, go- ing to jazz and arts evenings, and exploring the city and its quirks. My ambition now is to reach South America and to travel through Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia, but who knows what the rest of year will have in store for me! What I can write, how- ever, being over halfway through my gap year is that so far I have had the most tremendous experiences and I can undeniably say that this is one of the best decisions I have ever made. So for those who dismiss the idea of a gap year during medical school, I invite you to reconsider because, like me, you might be overwhelmingly surprised
Image by Alexander Isted
Features THE WRITE STUFF Zoya Arain discusses ‘media medics’ During the 1940’s, Charlie Hill, an infamous ‘radio doctor’, became a household name through delivering frank and sensible advice to his listeners such as ‘breast milk is the best food’ and ‘eat something raw every day’. The past two decades have seen an explosion of doctors in the media. From writing weekly columns in national papers, to appearing on reality TV. However to what extent do the spheres of media and medicine complement one another? Raymond Tallis, professor of geriatric medicine at Manchester University has greatly crticised the portrayal of medicine in the media by journalists. Refering to the ‘organ retention scandal’ (babies’ organs at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital were kept without parental consent), Proffessor Tallis condemned journalists of preying on “grieving parents” and transforming the “routine practice - organ retention - into a macabre ritual”. He critiqued the sensationalism as well as the equal weighting of opinion of those “in a position to give an authoritative comment…with those unable to do so”.
A finger on his pen, I mean, pulse Radhika Merh Guest Writer
An hour and a half’s wait following his talk on his journey from medical student to med- ical journalist, and reading excerpts from his f irst book, ‘Trust Me I’m A (Junior) Doc- tor’ and his upcom- ing book, ‘The Doctor Will See You Now’, I finally saw my
chance to talk to Max Pemberton himself. Max was gracious and friendly enough to speak to every single person in the lec- ture theatre who wanted to ask him a ques- tion, get his autograph or get advice on how to pursue their dreams in medical journal- ism. I was genuinely surprised;; this was one famous doctor who had no airs about being one. Max Pemberton is a recognised writer, journalist and doctor, with regular columns in ‘The Daily Tel-
Similar controversial instances include the publishing of the opinion of a US virologist Peter Herberg in the Sunday Times. He said that HIV does not cause AIDS in the 1990’s - the effects this statement, wholly unsupported by the medical profession at large - are still being felt today. Does this naturally, then, open a role for doctors in journalism, to discuss medicine objectively and expertly in a way that other journalists can’t? Some argue that this would only result in a censored presentation of facts by doctors who are bound by their reputation, the profession and its regulating bodies. Dr Max Pemberton, a well known columnist and author of ‘Trust me, I’m a junior doctor’, seems to have found a balance between the competing interests of telling a story in the right context and identifying potential issues that need to be addressed with regard to policy and infrastructure of the NHS. For instance, in an article for The Independent, Dr Pemberton comments on the financial incentives being offered by the government to GPs. He said “it will be disgracefull for doctors not to choose treatments that are clinically indicated and in the patient’s best interests, based on the fact that to do so saves the NHS money” and that this will “undermine the doctor patient relationship”. Christian Jessen, a celebrity GP known for his television series ‘Embarassing Bodies’ has stated that he wants to break “painful taboo”, but - at the same time - ensure that no participant is humiliated. He further justifies some of the less delectable scenes from ‘Embarassing Teenage Bodies’ by saying that “British teens have the worst sexual health in western Europe” and “we have to get people to watch it, but while they are being shocked at fascinated, they are learning something”. With the opportunity to preserve and uphold the reputation of the medical profession, safeguard the doctor patient relationship, and play an important role in public health awareness, the role of the ‘media medic’ is becoming increasingly well established in today’s society. If I keep pretending to write do you think they’ll b***** off? Image by Rhys Mansel
egraph’ and ‘Reader’s Digest’. During the talk, I noted his laughter was infectious. His true stories of being on the ward, tinged with an innate sense of humour, meant every stu- dent in the audience could relate to him on an individual level. That was the secret of his success: writing about normal everyday situations, curtained with core human val- ues, cynicism and comical value to touch the heart. He agreed, saying “sometimes the ones which you think are quite good are not the ones the readers feel the same about. But it is those stories, the ones with the human instincts, which stand out the most to them”. However I wanted to know the real per- son behind the veil of ‘Max Pemberton’. I asked if this pen name was inspired by a particular person, having already specu- lated it might be a reference to Sir Max- well Pemberton, the founder of the London School of Journalism. “My grandmoth- er’s favourite name was Maxwell and my mother’s maiden name was Pemberton. I wanted my close friends and family to re- alise that it was me that was Max Pember- ton, the author”. He adds after a pause, “and it was the name of my great grandfather”. I exclaimed on having correctly made a con- nection between the names. “Yes I would not have expected many to make the link”. So perhaps it was meant to be. He delib- erates that his step into the world of journal- ism has been sheer coincidence and driven by the pure need for financial support in medical school. “It was never planned. My family was very poor. I wasn’t even expected to continue higher education.” He smiles. “When I knew I wanted to do medicine I had to fund myself. I was asked to leave medical school, as I just couldn’t af- ford the fees. When I saw an advert in ‘The Guardian’ advertising for a medical jour- nalist, I was desperate for any- thing. Even though I had no experi- ence, it
The doctor attends to his adoring fans. Image by Rhys Mansel was my last resort. I was amazed when I got the job. I would start at four in the morning and finish at half eight, and then rush to my lectures af- ter. It was hard work but I was earn- ing double that of my mother and fa- ther’s salaries put together! Once I gave up that job, I never attended my lectures again, so it was quite helpful in that way too!” he laughs. So does his media image af- fect his profession as a doctor? “Yes it helps my profession most definitely. People are more under- standing. When I am too busy with my writing and haven’t prepared well enough to sit the exams, I miss them. And University College Hos- pital, where I work, kindly extends my contract keeping me as an ST3.”
So being a writer has its perks. Not just within the hospital but also, some would argue, into the world of recrea- tional drugs for an arguably altruis- tic goal. I had read in one of his arti- cles that he tried mephedrone (‘meow meow’). I wanted to k now if he thought that as a doctor, and more importantly a psychiatrist, this might have wid- er implications on public perception of the safety of recreational drugs. “Yes I know what you mean but if one reads the article you will realise that I have written it very carefully and not alluded to any such referenc- es. It is important for us to think about drug regulation;; we just cannot ignore the fact that Meow Meow is out and legal and readily available and every- one is taking it, even young children.
I was amazed and horrified at how easily these drugs were available.” He recalls his trip to a card shop in Soho and finding the plant-food, very innocently placed next to rubbers and sharpeners. “I thought it would be hid- den or put somewhere on a high shelf behind the counter - but no, anyone could get this. No age restrictions. And if we do ban this drug, then they will bring out an analogue, as they did. So I wanted to create awareness about this. I felt I had to try it and I must say it was good. Although I was very careful and only took a very small amount. If a doctor takes it and writes about it, it creates more aware- ness, which it did.” He k nows the value of having a voice and using it wisely. With the new television series cov-
ering seven junior doctors placed in Newcastle, there is a lot of public spec- ulation on how foundation year doctors cope with the struggles of being new- ly qualified on the wards. He seemed the right person to ask for one piece of advice for final year medical students about to start their F1 training. “Stock up the f ridge! No honestly. It is t rue that as a student in London you go get the
“it is those stories, the ones with the human instincts, which stand out the most” midnight bite anywhere, but once you finish late at night you don’t want to go
somewhere to get food and London is okay, but no one tells you that is not the case in DGHs [District General Hospi- tals]! The shops there close at 5pm. You live by eating takeaway pizzas and of course, stocking up your fridge well”. And lastly before we part, on behalf of all his ardent book lovers, what is happening with his laundry? He grins as this is a question a lot of people have presumably asked him. “Now I am a doctor, and earning, I have kept a clean- er”. Perhaps it is not too bad after all. He poses for a photo, comments on his jumper bought in the sale and casu- ally calculates the limited time he has left before midnight to submit an article. Max Pemberton’s third book, ‘The Doctor Will See You Now’, will be published on 4th August 2011
Comment Editor: Sarah Pape email@example.com
The BBC’s ‘Junior Doctors’: is this our future? Zainab Sansusi Guest Writer I, like every other NHS service user, was genuinely interested in the con- cept of the BBC program following junior doctors, and rather curiously observed the type of service I was to expect when told I would be seen by a young doctor. As a third year medi- cal student, though, I was also secretly hoping to see that the myths I had heard about life as a junior doctor weren’t true -as you’ve probably gathered none of there stories were very positive! The foundation doctors I had seen in action described a common theme of being unable to spend the money they make, and an erratic shift pat- tern that hinders them from the ac- tive social life that was so enjoyed during medical school. In short they seem stressed and dejected.
“There are numerous occasions where our fresh faces are accused of possessing inadequate knowledge” For those who don’t know, the programme follows seven newly qualified doctors working on vari- ous wards in one of two hospitals in Newcastle. The film crew follows them during their shifts at work, as well as at their home - all seven have been housed together - in a bid to portray all aspects of their lifestyles. We have seen each character be in- troduced, and I love to that they have found a good variation in personali- ties and consequently work ethic. The first episode introduces both the cool, calm, collected doctor who definite- ly knows her stuff, the one anybody would be glad to be stuck with in A&E, and the arrogant one who, thinking he knows his stuff, falls at the first hurdle -though I am sure the pressure of the situation could have been the cause. Throughout the series we see their day-to-day conduct. I can confidently see some of the stories I had already heard coming to light. Medicine defi- nitely seems to be more than just f un and games. We see an exhausting pattern of shifts, some of which include highly pressured nights, while others consist of routine tasks such as taking bloods or inserting cannulas coupled with some very uninteresting paperwork. For those attached to wards, medi- cine doesn’t seem to live up to ex- pectations and they find there are not enough patients and far too much pa- perwork. Emergency medicine, on the
other hand, is fast-paced and laced with plenty of responsibility.. There are numerous occasions where our fresh doctors are accused of possess- ing inadequate knowledge, and we are shown five years of medical training put to good use proving them wrong. We also see some of the highs of be- ing a doctor, with our fantastic seven saving lives, but then some tear-jerk- ing lows when we are reminded that not all people can be saved. We are shown that all medics are also humans;; being tired and overworked can result in mistakes during routine tasks, and a failure to live up to the high standards we all set for ourselves. We see their experiences dramatically affect future career choices, and they are all faced with tough choices related to speciality. When we follow our young doc- tors home the long hours and hectic timetables really can take its toll on their social life, though they are fight- ing the “all work, no play” stereotype that doctors are so commonly as- sociated with. Each doctor attempts to keep up with lifelong hobbies, at the same time as juggling the books and the night-shifts. All, in my opin- ion, an accurate portrayal of what be- ing a foundation doctor will be like, not that I am pleased to admit it. Unfortunately I can say there are a few negative aspects of the portray- al of doctors on this programme. To house them in a large, all expenses paid accommodation, living lives a lot more comfortable than the norm of those recently graduated is, in my opinion, very inaccurate. We don’t see the struggles of a person that is newly finding their feet within their career and needs to balance acquiring their first home, paying bills and manag- ing their first pay cheques. Moreover, their rather active social lives are also rather questionable. We see our doc- tors are also dancers, rugby players and members of bands, all of which I am sure they’d be unable to dedi- cate as much time to as we’re are led to believe. It seems the BBC are keen to depict them as well rounded so we hear more about these out of hours activities than we would when talk- ing to doctors in other hospitals. To conclude, I would say this pro- gramme is an accurate representation of life a junior doctor, featuring vari- ous aspects of the emotions they ex- perience as a result of it. I frequently question my reasons for studying med- icine, often letting the negative aspects override the positive ones, and feel seeing this firsthand depiction where the pros clearly outweigh the cons has reconfirmed in my mind my initial reasons for studying medicine. Kudos to the BBC, I am glad to see my Li- censing Fee is going to good use!
Featured Interview Junior doctor Katherine on her time with the BBC, and the dangers of editing Interview by Bibek Das One of the doctors is 24-year-old Cambridge graduate, Dr Katherine Conroy, who is an aspiring surgeon. From the first episode, we see her starting off on the busy plastics ward, trying to manage her life alongside a busy schedule that includes weekends and night shifts. But what would initially motivate a young junior doctor to sign up to a BBC documentary? ‘I think my main motivation was that I felt really lucky that I came from a medical background, so when I was first applying to medical school I knew people who had gone through the whole process and I knew what being a doctor is about. I think knowing people who have gone through it makes it less scary, and I thought it would be good for people who weren’t from a medical background to be able to see that you don’t have to be some super-amazing-perfect person to do this job; it is something that is attainable.’ As for actually making the show, was it an enjoyable experience overall? She describes it mostly as ‘interesting’: ‘there were good bits and bad bits of it. I was new to the city and I didn’t really know many people, so being put in a house with six other junior doctors was just brilliant because it meant that I didn’t feel I was on my own starting out and I had readymade friends (laughs); that was really nice. Also the camera crew were absolutely lovely. Sometimes it was quite nice that when you had a tough day you’ve got someone who you could talk to; it’s actually quite therapeutic.’ It wasn’t always easy, however, to undergo the stress of filming while starting off on a house job: ‘I think I didn’t realise when I signed up for it just how busy my job was going to be. They would come towards me in the afternoon and say: right Katherine, we just need a 5-minute chat at some point. And I thought, well, I haven’t even been to the toilet since 7 o’clock this morning, so good luck trying to fit in a five-minute chat when I’ve got all these bloods to take and all these patients to see! So there were bits where it added to the stress of the job. But overall, I think I’m glad I did it.’ Each day, the junior doctors carried out their usual tasks, which would include clerking patients, working with nurses and presenting to their seniors. The notable addition, however, was that a camera crew would be following them through a busy hospital. The reaction on the wards was initially mixed: ‘I think the nurses on my ward were initially very wary because I think they were worried that it was going to be some sort of Panorama-style exposé of NHS failures, and I think they’re right to think that because there is so much bad press about the NHS and everyone’s so quick to put it down and jump on any mistake, and not to see the bigger picture and all the good things about it. So they were quite defensive at first, but I think as the filming progressed, I think they became a lot more comfortable about it and, certainly the nurses on my ward, they really had my back and were really protective of me, and they would really look out for me.’
And how did the patients react to being filmed? ‘Some patients don’t like to be involved, but I felt the way it was put to them, they didn’t feel like they had to become involved in the filming.’ The reaction from patients could occasionally be surprising: ‘some of them actually really enjoyed it. I remember when I was on-call I went to see an elderly lady with acute cholangitis. She was in so much pain and she was so ill, I really didn’t know if it was in her best interests to have a camera crew there. When it was mentioned to her, her face just lit up and immediately she was saying ‘Oh am I going to be on television?!’ and the transformation was amazing; and I think it was more than the morphine (laughs). A lot of them
“The camera crew were lovely. Sometimes it was quite nice that when you had a tough day you’ve got someone who you could talk to; it’s actually quite therapeutic.” quite enjoyed getting involved – especially the plastics patients – a lot of them are physically very well, and really bored in hospital and it was kind of a welcome distraction for them. So a lot of them were really positive about it.’ Was it nerve-wracking to perform clinical procedures in front of a camera crew? ‘It made you really think about what you were saying, and made you think about what you were doing. And because you were so hyper-aware of the fact you were being filmed, I found that I probably
Comment Was Japan ready? Toby Flack examines emergency medicine provisions
Katherine and the junior doctors show off hospital fashion. Photo courtesey BBC/Cat Gale did things by the book a lot more than I would have done (laughs). I also thought if my clinical skills teacher sees this and I’m not doing this properly, she would be so disappointed! So I did it exactly how I would do it in an OSCE.’ In documentaries such as this, which are edited down to six episodes, the final airing might not always tie in with the reality. Does she feel this was the case? ‘It’s difficult really. I would say in the first episode, a lot of people commented on how I couldn’t get blood out of this patient. She was a post-operative patient and just had a breast reconstruction with an axillary node clearance, so one arm was off limits and the other arm had a PCA [patientcontrolled analgesia], an arterial line, and another cannula of fluids going into the arm. I thought, well, she’s just come out of theatre, and I don’t really want to stop all the fluids and PCA to take bloods. My only option really was her feet. And when someone’s been lying in bed for a few days, the veins in their feet aren’t usually the best place to get blood from (laughs).’ In the first episode, it was portrayed as if she went straight for the patient’s foot after having a brief glance at her arms: ‘I know! So they kind of misrepresented that but at the end of the day, that’s what the public wants to see. They want a story, like ‘oh no, she couldn’t take the blood, oh, how awful’. Also, I think they want to see doctors be human.’ But overall, was it a realistic representation of the kind of things junior doctors have to face? ‘I’m not sure to be honest. I think, in some ways, yes, definitely more so than things like Casualty or Scrubs and things like that, much more realistic than that. I think one of the biggest positive things from the show is that
so many people have said to me, I enjoyed watching the show because now my boyfriend or my parents, they understand what I get up to at work, they understand what my work is about, why I’m so stressed when I come home, and now I’ve been trying to tell them for months what it’s like, but now they can watch it on the telly. So I think it’s realistic from that point of view, but obviously, it is edited. ‘I think it does show firstly that we are human and we do make mistakes, and its not because we don’t try, it’s because everyone makes mistakes. Secondly, I think it does show (hopefully) doctors in a positive light, as in, we care about our patients and we work hard.’ Having spoken to a successful female surgeon and now more confident that women can have a successful surgical career, does she think she will inspire other female junior doctors? ‘Well, I hope so. I hope people watching the programme think that no matter what career they’re in, they will take heart from the fact that this surgeon is not just a surgeon but a woman with a successful career with a family. So you can be a woman and have a successful career, whether that’s in surgery or whatever.’ Over the course of these six episodes, we have seen the junior doctors deal with the trials and tribulations that many of us will face in a few years time. While the documentary focuses on the medical profession, she says the message of show can also reach a wider audience: ‘I think a lot of what the show wanted to portray was that we weren’t just doctors, but we were young people starting out on their first job, so they wanted to make it relevant for any young person leaving university and going into their chosen career.’
t 2.46pm 11th March 2011 thousands of Japanese peo- ples lives drastically al- tered forever. The question is, was Japan ready for the sudden med- ical needs of a population rocked by an earthquake of such large a magni- tude? And do leading world politicians have an obligation to provide help? It also leaves the question of whether there is a place for emergency medi- cine as an elective for UK students. Firstly we must look at how to deal with, as prime minister Naoto Kan put it Japans ‘worst crisis since the war’. It is not the first time Japan has been hit by such ground breaking tremors. The Kobe earthquake of 1995 killed 6,433 people, and that only had a magnitude of 7.2, in con- trast to this months which reached 8.8. The crucial difference between the two earthquakes can be observed in the subsequent tsunami of the sec- ond quake washing away any hope of a quick recovery. So far, over 10,000 people have been confirmed dead with a further 17,440 people missing and with half a million people still home- less, medics have their work cut out in keeping the medical surge at bay. There is then, of course, the un- precedented threat of radiation escap- ing from Fukushima nuclear plant, possibly burdening a generation of Japanese doctors with the aftermath of disease caused by the nuclear fall- out. Iodine-131 will cause cancer within a few year if ingested or in- haled. If the Iodine-131 does escape, oncologists will be overawed with new challenges for decades to come. Prophylactic measures have already been taken for those in high risk areas. Previously, the Japanese government had stockpiled potassium iodide pills for this eventuality. These are in lim- ited supply though, and are only being distributed to those at greatest risk. Furthermore, help is being received from the British government which has deployed 63 ‘relief specialists’ to help with the search and rescue across Japan. The problem is, according to the BBC, only 4 of these people are doctors. With an estimated 20,000 in- juries, are such a small number of spe- cialists able to even begin to scratch the surface in helping this small but hugely significant country recover? International financial support is no doubt evident, with close neighbour China providing $4.5 million worth of humanitarian aid. Moreover even countries with their own political and
economic problems have jumped at the opportunity to support Japan, with Afghanistan pledging $50,000 to sup- port relief efforts. It seems the nation described by the U N as ‘generous in its support to others’ is reaping the benefits of its past generosity. The main prob- lem is that there are simply not enough medics and nurses to administer the medical supplies which are arriving. This opens the debate of whether it is feasible to create electives in disaster medicine to support the currently mi- nuscule specialty of disaster medicine. Many physicians offer assistance in these situations, but are they equipped to deal with the situation? Although no specialist in disaster medicine ever wants to use their knowledge to its full potential, disasters will always occur.
“If the Iodine-131 does escape, oncologists will be overawed with new challenges for decades to come.” Disaster consultants do have a role in preparing countries such as Japan for these situations. Without their work, the damage would have been significantly larger. Thanks to their work, Japanese people are in a con- stant state of preparation for ‘the big one’. Everyone knows what to do should the earthquake alarm go off, and with thanks to ingenious engi- neering, they can cope with smaller quakes. It was not possible to have foreseen and prepared for the tsunami in the same way though, due to our lack of knowledge on how they work. The specialty of disaster medi- cine is a competitive one, and with UK medical students finding it diffi- cult to gain experience through elec- tives, maybe it could be introduced as a BSc. This would allow students to get a grasp of the specialty, and gain experience in what is often an inaccessible branch of medicine. Then again, it is an inaccessi- ble specialty for a reason. In a world where AIDs is killing 1.8 million people per year (2009 figures pub- lished by UNAIDS), is it justifiable to increase spending on what an epi- demiologically insignificant cause of death? Although everyone has sympa- thy for Japan and all loss of life is sig- nificant, it makes you wonder wheth- er there are bigger fish to fry first
Comment Editor: Sarah Pape firstname.lastname@example.org
Head to Head Are electives self-indulgent? YES
haven’t been on an elective. I know that makes me an unusual candidate to write this article, but I have volunteered a lot overseas and learnt that to do so is often u nethical. I have also come to think that electives can be unethical for similar reasons. I have volunteered in a lot of places which we would classify as less devel- oped, mostly because t ravelling around the world is amazing, and doing some kind of work there for f ree gives you an opportunity to experience things you couldn’t otherwise. My experiences in Uganda, Nicaragua, Nepal and every- where else were incredible every time. Yet, since I’ve volunteered so much, it has hit me hard, and in a way I can no longer avoid, that teaching local chil- dren when you’re completely unquali- fied, setting up a youth project that will end when you go home, or building toilets or steps to a nature park when you’ve never held a shovel before, all of which I’ve done, are patronising towards the people you work for or alongside. Trying to support health- care as an unqualified but enthusias- tic volunteer in a country poorer than your own, can be really inappropriate. Many people in those towns and villages would have been better at the manual work and more able to relate to the children if they had had the leisure and disposable income to give their time to positive projects. If they had been involved the work, they would almost certainly have commit- ted to it for longer than I did. It’s not the way that communities become more affluent, or how badly needed resources become more available. There’s also the long history of im- perialism and the continuing divide between rich and poor which means you can’t play games with children in a Ugandan village without think- ing of the impact it has. So whilst the idea of working in a hospital or clinic in a country where resources and staffing are low and need is very high sounds so good, I know I am go- ing to be treading a fine ethical line. I am sure the situation on my elec- tive will be different from my previous travels. I hope I’ll have more skills to put to use than I did teaching English when I was eighteen, but I have to ana-
Hayley Stewart Sub-Editor
lyse what it means for me to be there. If I see my work as helping out and con- tributing to a struggling health clinic that will be naive because I won’t have much clue what I’m doing medically.
“It’s not the way that communities become more affluent or badly needed resources become more available” If we look at charities which do support developing infrastructure in resource-poor countries, like VSO, they no longer allow their foreign vol- unteers to do the majority of the work on the ground, but send high level pro- fessionals to train locals as a way of contributing in a way that empowers that country’s own workforce. This is now the accepted and ethical way of working in development, but medical students on electives do just the op- posite. They use the low standard of healthcare systems in other countries to secure great placements doing a lot
more than they might back home, get- ting lots of hands on experience, before coming back to continue their training in the UK. The point here is that, if I am self- aware and acknowledge that I will have a lot more to gain on elec- tive than I will be able to give, I have to then recognise that it shouldn’t be me gaining from the opportunities. If it is a resource-poor environment, with too few trained personnel, the train- ing I gain should be given to a student from that country, one who will con- tinue to give back to the community. So whilst I admit I have loved all the volunteering I’ve done, and I wish I was on my elective right now, I can’t ignore the fact it will be an ethically dubious time. If for no reason other than the fact that a fourth year medi- cal student, who doesn’t get to do ad- vanced procedures in this country be- cause it is unethical to put the patient in such inexperienced hands, should not be let loose on patients in another country just because people there are less fortunate than we are. It’s unethi- cal to take advantage of their disadvan- tage, particularly since we are coming from such a privileged background
The students get more hands on experience than they were expecting
oing on a medical elective can be an incredibly mem- orable, rewarding oppor- tunity and an invaluable part of your medical education. Stu- dents arrange placements in medical posts anywhere in the world (obviously within reason – Libya and Iraq may not be the best locations at the moment) and it provides vast scope for students to gain exactly the learning experi- ences they are passionate about and in- terested in. Whether this is your first visit into the developing world, or you are a seasoned gap-year traveller, the medical context of the elective make it an incredibly unique experience. Yet there are those people who doubt its merits, instead labelling elec- tives as a holiday for rich medical stu- dents, disrupting the infrastructure of poor health centres, and not pro- viding suitable educational outlets.
“When students chose to spend their electives in developing countries, it can act as a way to open their eyes to some of the issues that affect the less privileged, and help them gain life perspective” I disagree. Typically, the electives are arranged with hospitals and clin- ics abroad, although many students choose to do their electives in the UK as well. Traveling abroad gives stu- dents the chance to witness cultures and places they may otherwise never get the chance to see. When students chose to spend their electives in devel- oping countries, it can act as a way to open their eyes to some of the issues that affect the less privileged and help them to gain life perspective. Also, as most students will eventually spend the majority of their lives in UK hospitals, overseas electives can be a welcome change of scene, and will certainly prove to be a once in a life time oppor- tunity. Clinically speaking there is also the chance to see some of the tropical illnesses that you would otherwise
Alex Isted Staff Writer
rarely see: malaria, HIV, starvation, Dengue fever, and leprosy to name a few, and though witnessing these will be undoubtedly harrowing it will help to broaden medical knowledge. Ad- ditionally, the experience of working in foreign health care systems will help students to make comparisons with the NHS and highlight our health care service’s virtues and failures. Regardless of where the elective takes place, they can provide an outlet for students to hold responsibility for patients and have a chance to gain some experience in a clinical setting. Whilst you must practice within the confines of your medical education as stated by the GMC, there are many chances to get hands on and when applying for place- ment, students can chose the medical speciality they are most keen to spend their time in, with the most popular specialities being surgery, emergency medicine, and paediatric medicine. As for the fact that medical stu- dents are being self-indulgent by going abroad for elective, it can be very chal- lenging for a g roup of students to get in contact with a hospital half way around the world and arrange a placement, while negotiating all the red tape, bu- reaucracy, vaccinations, visas, bursa- ries… the list goes on. There are com- panies available to help plan electives, like ‘Work the World’ which do some of the leg work for you, but regardless the process of arranging your trip can be a long one, with students encouraged to begin their planning over 12 months before the trip. Such a trip is also fi- nancially daunting, possibly favouring richer students, but as there are many bursaries available for students to help towards the costs the experience really is available to anyone who wants it. The experience is ultimately an in- credibly fulfilling one that will help provide perspective, improve your clinical experience, enhance your cul- tural awareness and language skills, help with communication, and even act as a needed holiday before foun- dation training. It is the one chance students get to plan their education completely independently, and ul- timately benefits not just the stu- dent, but everyone they spread their newly acquired knowledge with
Comment The crack down on vices David Fisher Staff Writer Palms dripping with sweat, his heart pounded. Adrenaline rushed through Mike’s body as he spied out his target, a small corner shop, just strides away. His index finger twitched expect- antly. Tugging down his hood to hide his head, he nervously glanced f rom side to side. The pavement was deserted. Terrified of the consequences of being seen, Mike hastened to open the door. Like a magnet, he was drawn towards the counter, un- able to resist. Lifting his head to stare at the assis- tant, he opened his mouth, ready to expose himself as society’s enemy. “Twenty Malboro, please.” A prolonged government campaign has made smoking socially unacceptable. It is forbidden to smoke in public areas, and many smokers now perceive a stigma attached to smoking. This is not altogether surprising. Before war was declared on smoking over a decade ago, a shocking 120,000 people died each year from smoking related ill- nesses. The cost to the NHS was an astronomical £1.7 billion. The diminished productivity of those incapacitated, compounded by necessary wel- fare payments, insulted the public purse further. Battle lines were drawn, principally targeting tobacco advertising. Public consciousness was bombarded with an intensive media campaign promulgating the corroding consequences of smoking. Thankfully, the public were receptive to warnings. By 2010, the Department of Health claimed the number of adult smokers had reduced by a fifth, and the number of children beginning to smoke had halved. Deaths resulting f rom smok- ing had fallen to 80,000. Notwithstanding, there is much progress to be made. Smoking still costs the NHS budget £2.7 billion, an avoidable expense. Another group of self-harmers are es- timated to cost the NHS budget a similar amount, but seem relatively immune from public disdain. The number of hospital ad- missions due to alcohol abuse has been stead- ily rising, now in excess of a million each year. In many ways, the ramifications of alcohol abuse are more severe than smoking. Smokers
mainly harm themselves, though the collateral damage of passive smoking is significant. Al- cohol abusers on the other hand, have far more impact on surrounding bystanders. Intoxicated individuals cause localised destruction, not dis- criminating between people, possessions and properties. Deaths resulting from smoking are more prevalent in the elderly. By way of contrast, alcohol fatalities predominate amongst younger people. Thus the loss of productivity is greater as a consequence of alcohol fatalities, as compared with the number of deaths resulting f rom smoking. Despite the steady rise in alcohol abuse re- lated costs, surprisingly little has been em- ployed to stem the tide. In 1987, the ‘Sensible Drinking’ message promoted advice to limit unitary intake of alcohol. The number of units consumed became the core of the alcohol health initiative. This was completely misguided. Whilst many members of the public recognise the initiative, pathetically few people can ac- curately quantify how much a unit is. Other ef- forts have included the designation of Alcohol Free Zones but mostly efforts to limit alcohol intake have been woefully weak and ineffective.
“The diminished productivity of those incapacitated, compounded by welfare payments, insults the public purse” Lamentably, binge drinking is estimated to cost the U K between £17 and £22 billion. Two and a half million adults admit to drinking more than twice the recommended daily limit. It is mysti- fying why the Government investment to tackle binge drinking is disproportionately less than to combat smoking. This irresponsible neglect does little to improve standards of healthcare. The root of the problem is that people ac- cept irresponsible drinking as normal. An even- ing socialising is often considered a failure if it does not lead to inebriation. This unhealthy at- titude towards alcohol must be changed to effec-
Illustrations by Giada Azzopardi tively engage with the issue. The Government must initiate a high profile media campaign to shock the public into appreciating the poisonous complications of excessive drinking. This has been highly successful in the past when tack- ling drink-driving during the Christmas period. Whilst education is essential to sway public attitudes against excessive alcohol consump- tion, price is the most responsive stimulus likely to influence alcohol intake. Economic models leave no doubt that taxation r ises reduce demand. A taxation rise would unfortunately punish the innocent majority who drink in moderation. It would also have severely detrimental effects on the alcohol industry but beverages such as beer, cider and vodka should be taxed, since they are commonly abused by binge drinkers. Judging by measures in the latest budget, this is clearly the direction in which the Government is start- ing to travel. However, further tax rises will be needed to substantially reduce alcohol abuse. Despite being unpopular, there is little doubt that additional tax rises should be levied on alco-
holic drinks. The Government needs to bravely and forcefully grab the drunken bull by its horns. In addition, the Government needs to recog- nise that the clout of supermarket control has a choke-hold on alcohol pricing. Confronting alco- hol abuse without restraining supermarket pric- ing is futile. It is commonplace for individuals to buy significant quantities of alcohol from super- markets to consume, before stumbling into pricier bars and pubs. It is critical to curb these discounts;; otherwise they will undermine any attempt to tackle binge drinking. An effective policy would impose a minimum unit cost, so that it would be illegal to sell alcohol at such low prices. This would fly in the face of fierce opposition from the alcohol industry but the Government must prioritise public health above industry profits. It is ludicrous that smoking is vilified but intoxication accepted. Public health has im- proved as we have successfully battled smoking. A new line of attack is long overdue. We must wake from our alcohol induced slumber and take strong action to remedy years worth of abuse
Rory Barr discusses the benefits of getting engaged
ne of the most exciting (and terrifying!) moments of life in your early twenties is when friends start an- nouncing their engagements. Of course you’re delighted, but it’s all so...serious. When did we start growing up? Mak- ing big decisions, and taking responsi- bility for your future? Indeed, not just your future, but the future of others? While I have yet to receive the requi- site jewellery, I have found another way to get engaged. As BMA Rep at K ing’s, part of my role is to put students’ con- cerns to those who can influence poli- cy, and improve outcomes. Therefore, after months of nagging and conflict- ing calendars, I managed to arrange a
meeting with Mark Durkan, my local MP from Foyle in Northern Ireland. Although Mark is no longer the leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party, and is stepping down as an Assembly Member in Northern Ireland (where most decisions affect- ing students from NI will be made), his influence within the party and ability to represent our interests re- mains strong. With that in mind, I trundled along to Westminster on the day that the Budget was announced. After a friendly chat and a coffee, I began explaining the various financial pressures faced by all medical students – ours is a longer course than most;; we have higher travel, equipment costs
etc;; and the difficulties of Widening Participation when costs are so high and support so low. I highlighted the reduced Student Loan support for Final Year students, and the fact that the Stu- dent Loan Company (SLC) in Northern Ireland gives approximately 2% less as a Maintenance Loan than other SLCs. I then explained the relative lack of support for Graduate students;; no loans for tuition fees, no grants/ bursaries from LEAs, and no bursa- ries from universities who usually give 50% of what the LEA awards – as Mark said, “half of nothing is nothing.”Also, unlike graduates from elsewhere in the UK, NI gradu- ates are not given the NHS bursary.
I walked Mark through each of these areas, then demonstrated the financial impact that these decisions have had. I showed how much better off I would have been if I was from England in- stead of Northern Ireland, due to the lower financial support available. Finally, we talked about the govern- ment’s White Paper for Health. Mark is clearly a Social Democrat at heart, and does not look fondly on the in- creased role of the Market in the NHS. He shared my concerns about a wors- ening “Postcode Lottery” as Consor- tia make different decisions on what treatments to fund. He also agreed with my concern about how the Doc- tor/Patient relationship might be dam-
aged if patients suspect that decisions about their treatments may be more related to the financial health of the Consortium, rather than their own. I found it hugely beneficial to have a face-to-face meeting with my local MP. It is a g reat way to raise awareness of the issues we face and ask what peo- ple can do to help. To that end, I encour- age you all to discuss your concerns about Student Finance, or the future of the NHS. Getting engaged is a big step – but when you really care about some- thing, and are committed to a better future;; it’s the grown up thing to do
Culture Culture Editor: Robyn Jacobs email@example.com
Jianan Bao explores London’s Meat-free Cuisine. Saturdays at Broadway Market are not only good for a game of hipster-spotting; it also makes for a quality culinary field trip, accompanied by street musicians and elderly Hackney locals dancing to reggae music. I stood patiently for French creole chicken, and then sat down in London Fields where I was joined by my friend who had bought a thali box from an Indian food stall. “Mmm, try this” he said and I had a skeptical spoonful of his homogenous stew. It was amazing – sweet, sour, spicy all at once exploding in my mouth. “And it’s vegan friendly!” he said. A meat-free meal that delicious? This was astounding. Maybe there’s more to vegetarian food than I had previously given it credit for. I was inspired to hunt down some more tasty (and affordable) meat-free options in London. First stop was the Hare Krishnas - they are on the LSE campus every day during term time, giving out free food to promote vegetarianism. I got there at 12:30 and even though they were just setting up, there was already a line forming. 15 minutes later, I was handed a plate of pasta with a greenish sauce and a slice of cake. It was heavy, starchy, and put me into a food coma for a few hours. As much as I’m grateful for a free lunch, I think I may have to spend a few quid on finding my vegetarian muse. Next stop was Food For Thought in Covent Garden. I had spent some time on their website salivating over their menu; it changes regularly and there was a variety to salivate over. I visited the wellknown vegetarian establishment full of hope and, unfortunately, a next-to-empty wallet. A main costs £4.90 but it came in an unsatisfactorily small portion, and the £8 meal deal was too much for lunch. I would’ve loved to stay in their homely basement, feasting on Japanese stew and strawberry scrunch, but I had to tear myself away. It can be so tragic being a frugal student. Beatroot on Berwick Street in Soho was the next stop on my vegetarian food crawl. Smoothie lovers rejoice – they have a selection of fresh fruit blends that will leave you feeling virtuously healthy. Personally I don’t believe in spending £3.50 on pureed fruits, so I went straight for the food. The friendly staff did a good job stuffing many different foods into one box; he managed to fit in a Shepherd’s pie, broccoli quiche, broad bean salad, brown rice salad, spinach curry and, balanced on top of all that, a sausage roll. The quiche was my favourite. Unfortunately, towards the end, all the food blended into each other and all I could taste was bean and curry. I was reminded of why I could never give up meat: nothing in the vegetable kingdom can substitute for its delicious flavour.
Limitless: Living Every Med Students Dream
Pranav Mahajan Guest Writer As medical students, we’ve all been there, especially around exam periods;; wishing there was some way of being able to re- tain knowledge just by glancing at a text book. Longing for that magic bullet that would mean that everything you have ever read, heard or experienced, would sud- denly click, allowing you to sail through medical school, safe in the knowledge that your brain is taking everything in for you. ‘Limitless’ is about that very bullet. It’s in the form of a translucent, almost crystal looking pill, called NZT. We are introduced to Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper), a writer, in the loosest sense of the word, who finds himself single after breaking up with his girlfriend Lindy (Abbie Cornish) who has grown tired of his general stagnation in life. Eddie acquires NZT from a questionable source, and after initial hesitation, takes the tablet. He finds that regular use of NZT al- lows him to take in and retrieve information like never before, to manipulate any situation to his benefit. Suddenly, he was able to write an entire novel at an incredible pace, sleep with scores of beautiful women, bamboo-
zle experts in their own fields, and eventu- ally land a highly lucrative job in the stock market working for a no-nonsense business mogul, Carl Van Loon (Robert De Niro). Eddie soon realises that life on NZT isn’t without its problems. Side effects start as he increases the dose, and Eddie f inds that he suf- fers prolonged blackouts in which he is unable to account for his physical actions. However, stopping NZT all together has serious reper- cussions that include headaches, weakness, coma and eventually death. On top of this, Eddie becomes a target for those who will do anything to get their hands on NZT. All this
“Ironically though, the film was more limited than limitless” leads to Eddie having to make difficult deci- sions about his future, with or without NZT. This film would be an interesting watch for medical students. It gives an insight into the effects of drug tolerance, the seriousness of side effects, and the dangers of complete immediate withdrawal of substances. It also looks at the reliance people may feel for the drugs they take, and the extent they will go to in order to achieve their fix. There are no- table parallels between the effects of NZT
and the effects of other drugs such as mari- juana, heroin, ecstasy and alcohol. However, this film is riddled with avoidable scientific inaccuracies that unnecessarily undermine the plot, the most blatant being the refer- ence to the myth that humans only ever use 20 percent of their brain at any one time. This f ilm is bound to split opinion. Visual- ly, it is unique with plenty of panache;; it con- stantly varies camera angles, rotations and lenses, giving a great viewing experience. Ironically though, the rest of the film was more limited than limitless. Bradley Coop- er’s weaknesses as a lone main character are exposed as he struggles to engage the audi- ence fully, showing that he has yet to mature from being part of a g roup of main characters as in ‘The Hangover’ or ‘The A-Team’, to be- ing a star in his own right. De Niro brings real class to the picture, but there is a sense that he is above a film like this. The general story line had much more potential for pos- ing real questions about the human psyche and the possibility of untapping a wealth of knowledge we all may possess. There is a general feeling by the end of the film that it only touched the surface of an intriguing idea. Limitless is a real treat for the eyes, but not the sort of ‘Inception-esque’ psychologi- cal journey that excites the imagination
Student Artwork of the Month By Sherina Peroos
After the Mortuary “Sketched after my first visit to the mortuary to observe the signing of a death certificate. I was reflecting on the distinctive smells, the chill of the room, the silent worry I felt that I had apparently spoken to the gentleman when he was alive and now couldn’t recognise him, and the surreal chirpiness of the post-mortem technician” If you would like to see your artwork, photography or poetry featured, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Sexual Nature at the Natural History Musuem
Jack Harding Guest Writer I was given a set of options for what I wanted to write about for my first article and I immediately went for the one that had the word sex in it. Can you blame me? I was sort of hoping for some interesting fieldwork but instead I was hit over the head with the word ‘museum’. Something about museums strike depression and boredom into the very souls of every young person but I was determined to go along to the Sex- ual Nature Exhibition at the Natural History Museum with an open mind. It wasn’t f ree, which sucked, but it was only £4 with my trusty student card. Inside I was spellbound by the intricacy and beauty of the exhib- its. Well, that’s a lie, the whole thing was pretty dimly lit and there were large parts that had absolutely noth- ing of interest in them. But I suppose
that’s ‘the modern way’ and I should get my backside into the 21st century. I took note of some fantastic look- ing sexual positions, which were dem- onstrated by various species of ani- mals. I’ll have to try them out with my girlfriend sometime (who am I kidding, I’m a writer who just went to a freak- ing museum, I don’t have a girlfriend). The whole exhibition was like walking through an episode of QI. Facts and figures were attacking me from every direction, like the male boar who ejaculates up to half a litre of semen with every ejaculation. The thought that went through my mind was “Jesus, that must take a while”. The exhibition strikes me as try- ing a bit too hard, but there are aspects that really work. Dotted throughout the exhibit are video screens show- ing actress Isabella Rossellini’s “Green porno” movies. The movies were factual and featured Rossellini dressed as various different animals
and explaining the acts of sex with moderately amusing dry humour. My favourite part of the exhibi- tion? It’s a tie between two actually. Firstly, the male tarantula has to get in and out pretty quickly after he ejacu- lates because if he isn’t fast enough the female will eat him. Apparently they confuse him for a fly and just go ahead and get their feast on. I can think of a few girls this reminds me of. My other favourite is the repre- sentative for the medical student: the Adélie penguins. The males are slaves to their hormones with such strong sex drives that they will attempt to mate with anything. Alive or otherwise, female or other- wise. I can definitely think of a few guys that this reminds me of. On the way out there is a wall of notes, posted by people who have vis- ited, and written down little taglines on pieces of paper. It is there for your thoughts, experiences and feelings on
sex. A few of them were classic. My personal favourite was: ”It’s not rape if you take your socks off” followed by “I love Jutin Justin Bie- ber <3”. I decided to add to the wall by writing my phone number on it. What? A guy can dream can’t he?
Sexual Nature is on at The Natural History Museum until 2nd October. For more info, visit www.nhm.ac.uk
Sarah knew Jimmy was a prick for more than one reason... Image thanks to the Natural History Museum
COMPETITION BOOK REVIEW
The Heart Specialist by Claire Rothman Amrutha Sidhar Assistant Editor In a story that takes the reader on a com- pletely u nexpected journey, ‘The Heart Specialist’ begins in the bedroom of a young child on the night of her perse- cuted father’s disappearance. It pro- ceeds to take the reader through a cap- tivating and endearing tale of an adult who never ceases to be the child you meet in the opening words of the book. In contemporary society, where female medical students outnumber their male peers, we take women’s access to education and opportunity in the world of medicine for granted. ‘The Heart Specialist’ transports the reader to a time where such things were deemed ludicrous and impracti- cal. The reader is invited to walk in footsteps akin to those of a pioneering
female doctor;; the Canadian Maude Abbott. Though Dr Abbott shares sev- eral aspects in common with the pro- tagonist of the book, Agnes White, au- thor Claire Holden Rothman intended the novel to serve as a tribute to Dr Abbott’s inspiring journey rather than a biographical account, stating that it was Dr Abbott’s “education and pro- fessional struggle that inspired the book”. It serves the reader better as the first personal account of the fiction- al story allows them to form a closer bond to the protagonist, who herself is an outsider looking in. It perhaps teth- ers even better with an audience who carry a medical background, as several of our populace know well the feeling of being the geeky child of the class. The protagonist takes the reader into her confidence as both a doctor and a woman – a sister, a friend, a ri- val – and is frank regarding the torren-
WIN a free copy of the book Would you like to win yourself a copy of ‘The Heart Specialist’? Send a photo of yourself, with a copy of this month’s paper, to email@example.com and the three most unusual photos will win a copy! You will also get a dashing photo of yourself in next months issue....
tial storm of human emotions that she experiences in the events of her com- promised life;; the feelings of achieve- ment, loss, exclusion, victory, loyalty, frustration, despair, disappointment, and rebirth. One of the most appreci- able aspects of the book was the hon- esty regarding the depth and flaws of human characters, giving the tale a dimension that adds to how much the reader can garner from it. In a way, the first person account that broadens the readers grasp of the twists and turns of the novel also narrows the world to one that is seen through the protagonist’s imperfect perception – an effect that is at its most potent toward the mellow, yet gripping, dénouement of the story. It is an unusual course that en- capsulates both the slow and arduous professional ascent of a 1900s female doctor, and the abandonment of the women left behind in the outbreak of the first world war, which saw much of the male population enlisting out of patriotism, obligation or idealism. The protagonist steps into the role of the reader, where she endures the harsh realities of the frontline war through letters, mirroring the way the reader experiences her life through the novel. When asked regarding the intended readership for the novel, Rothman stat- ed it was written to appeal to as wide an audience as possible, and indeed it does. This is also perhaps where one of my few issues with the novel lies;; it does little to reflect the aspects of a doctor’s role that have changed lit- tle over the last century. However, the author stresses that the story was more a focus on her professional achieve-
ments, and in fairness, not much is known regarding these elements. ‘The Heart Specialist’ is a tale of an enduring grasp on a goal, dream and an internal emptiness of a human, yet inspiring character. It moves the reader through the chang-
ing and eventually turbulent dawn- ing years of the 20th century. It en- gages t he reader i nto scenes a nd v ista rich with velvety tones of physical stimuli and human emotions. It is a charming yet compelling debut nov- el definitely not one to be missed
Photo copyright Nicholas Seguin, 2008
Culture AN INTERVIEW WITH...
Adam Kay of the Amateur Transplants Adam Kay, comedian, songwriter…and doctor? Robyn Jacobs speaks to Adam on songs, quitting medicine, and the Moira Stewart cup
amed for being half of the Amateur Transplants, Adam Kay reached the limelight with the Youtube sensa- tion ‘The London Underground’. A favourite amongst medical students and doctors alike, he is currently at- tempting to break into full time com- edy at the BBC. Despite this, he still manages to do student shows, and is compering at UH Revue this year. RJ: How do you feel com- ing back to compere at shows you were once involved with? AK: Very proud and surprised that they are still going, that the UH revue is still going. I think that when we set it up we presumed that it would die when we left, but it’s very ex- citing that every year a new bunch of people put in a huge amount of work. As an alumnus of the UH re- vue, I am very proud to help it out.
“That was called Handjobs for Crack” RJ: Do you feel that comedy is important for medical students? AK: I think that everyone needs a diversion. It’s quite easy to go a bit mad in six years of medical school and whatever your outlet is, whether it is music or drama or sport or comedy, you need to have some outlet. For me it was comedy, for lots of people it’s comedy and, like sports, it’s enjoyable for both the people on the field and for people who come and watch. I think comedy for sure has an important role, and also you get to take the piss out of your lecturers and the system. RJ: You mentioned ‘when you set up the UH revue’. How ex- actly did you come to start it up? AK: Obviously, there are the five medical schools, or what are now the five London medical schools, and there has always been the rivalry on the sporting field. I got together with a few people and we discussed the pos-
sibility of the various medical schools getting together for comedy purposes. I’d been to St George’s revue in my first year and had become friends with a guy called Mike Wozniak and we were talking about this and the first thing we did, which was probably in 2000, was to set up a comedy troupe with one person from each medical school. Well, there were a couple of people from each of the London medi- cal schools. And that was called Hand- jobs for Crack. We did a gig at the St Thomas’ bar which went very well and then from that we decided we should do more of a competition thing, where- by every university would put forward a short little show, and that’s the for- mat that the UH revue currently runs to. When we set it up, the first year, we said it was the 62nd or something an- nual UH revue, and that it hadn’t been going for the last few years but that we were starting it up again, to make peo- ple believe that that might be true and in the f irst year, I’m not sure anyone re- ally believed that it had been going for 62 years, but by the second year, every- one did. And now, I’m not sure anyone would believe me if I said I had set it up a decade ago. So, yes, that’s how it started and as I said, it’s nice that it’s still going. It’s a fun evening. Initially it was always at the Bloomsbury thea- tre in UCL but obviously great, and it makes much more sense, that it rotates around the various medical schools. RJ: A nd in the f irst few years, was it a big event? Or did it g radually get bigger? AK: No, it was big. We only did one night and we sold out the Blooms- bury theatre every year we were do- ing it, just because it had five medical schools publicising it, which meant you only had to sell 100 tickets between ‘x thousand’ per medical school, yeah it was good. And it got itself a repu- tation such that a few years in, it was difficult to actually get tickets, which is obviously a nice position to be in. RJ: The winners of the night
Key UH Facts 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003
WINNER HOST --ICSM GKT GKT RUMS RUMS GKT SGUL ICSM RUMS GKT GKT SGUL RUMS SGUL RUMS SGUL RUMS
r&BDIPGUIFGJWF-POEPO.FEJDBMTDIPPMT has 20 mins to perform sketches, songs, skits…anything they think might be funny r$PNQFSFUIJTZFBSJT"EBN,BZ POFPGUIF founding group of the UH revue r4PJSFFTBOESFWVFTBSFHFOFSBMMZOBNFE after films - this year’s revue is called ‘The King’th Th’peeth’ r5IFXJOOFSJTEFDJEFECZBIJHIMZ democratic clap-o-meter r5IJTZFBSJTUIFGJSTUZFBSUIBU*NQFSJBM College is holding the Revue
get the Moira Stewart cup;; can you tell me why it is called that? AK: It came back to the fact that it was a ‘long established thing’. We thought we should give the cup some form of credibility, so we chose ‘The Moira Stewart Cup’ – a friendly, ran- dom celebrity to have the cup named after. A friend of mine showed me on Wikipedia, that on Moira Stewart’s en- try, there is a section about ‘The Moi- ra Stewart Cup’, listing the winners, which I think is just phenomenal. Now, I am in entertainment full-time, I now think I should probably get in touch with Moira Stewart’s agent to see if we can make it an official thing, and maybe get the g reat lady to present it one year.
“We had a bit of luck with this London Underground song” RJ: Do you have a fa- vourite UH Revue memory? AK: Yeah, because I was one of the group in charge of the show, I didn’t let anyone else from Imperi- al do it, so it was just me and Suman [Biswas] as Amateur Transplants do- ing our own tunes, and there are an awful lot of songs that we did, a lot of songs that we still do now, were first ever performed on that stage. And we worked quite hard for those little slots, and we wrote some fun stuff. RJ: How did you make the move from medical school com- edy into more professional shows? AK: It’s been a fairly slow tran- sition, whereby initially we were known amongst medical students, and that escalated to doctors. And then we had a bit of luck with this Lon- don Underground song, which did the rounds. And then we got inter- est for wider gigs. And obviously if you are doing one of those, you can’t just do medical in-jokes, you have to do general comedy, so that’s what we did, and that’s what’s happened, and every year it just gets bigger. RJ: Do you think there is a line for songs being racist or offensive? AK: I don’t think a song should ever be racist, that’s a personal thing. How best to answer this question? You actu- ally don’t want any song to be offensive to anyone. Essentially, if you come to a comedy event, you want to leave hap- pier than you came in, and the come- dian, whoever they are, has failed quite dramatically if anyone leaves feeling worse than when they came in. So the line to tread, is saying things that people are shocked about, or surprised
about, or shocked on behalf of others, but no one should actually have per- sonal offence at anything, and if they did, I would be more surprised and occasionally, we have been doing this for a few years now, and early on we made a few mistakes and we pitched it wrong, and its learning the line to t read. RJ: There is a whole host of students at the moment, who perform at UH re- vue and soirees. Do you have any tips for anyone who wants to work in comedy later on and break free from medicine? AK: Well yeah, I mean, it’s quite a big step to completely drop medicine and go full time into another profes- sion, it’s a step that I only recently, in fact I did my last bit of medicine at Christmas because I was tail- ing it off a bit. You have to be sure that you can earn a crust. And the tip is just to persevere, to keep go- ing;; you have to start with terrible gigs. You can’t start with big amaz- ing gigs. You need to be vaguely good at it, and you need to hack away at it. RJ: How did you feel giv- ing up something that you worked 6 years for;; your medical degree? AK: I mean, I got to the stage with comedy that I wasn’t able to do eve- rything I wanted to because of other commitments, and I thought “now is the time to give it a go”. And you know, if this is all a terrible disas- ter, I’ve always got medicine to go back to. But ultimately, you have to do something that you really want to do, not just do something because you’ve done it for the previous decade. RJ: And finally, GKT won the cup last year, Imperial are host- ing, who do you think will win the Moira Stewart cup this year? AK: I haven’t seen any of the shows, I’d have to check with my magic 8 ball...
Check out Amateur Transplants gigs at livetransplants.com or check out Adam’s twitter at @amateuradam
The History of the Soiree... The soiree is an age old tradition dating as far back as even the oldest consultant can remember. The RUMS soiree, held at Christmas time every year, is by the MDs (Manic depressives). The show is said to date back to 1898, when, on New Years day, a group of students at the Middlesex hospital, thought that they would cheer up the patients (who wouldn’t need to be cheered…it’s Middlesex hospital…) by performing skits and jokes. The tradition lives on until today, and they still perform a soiree each Christmas. The St Mary’s soiree dates back to the 30’s when the Soiree society would perform a night of comedy at Wilson House after the operetta society performed their autumn term show. The late queen mother was the patron of the St Mary’s soiree up until 2002 when she passed away (somebody showed her the lyrics to ‘The London Underground’). St Georges has been famed for their low-brow humour, with one student even claiming that the only reason that they have won the UH three times is their ability to somehow procure really attractive female medical students to perform. Bart’s and GKT also have Christmas soiree shows. With GKT in current possession of the Moira Stewart cup, it’s anybody’s guess as to who will win this year… (But it will be Imperial. No editor discretion needed)
Culture THEATRE REVIEW
The Knot of the Heart Rhys Davies Guest Writer When we think of addiction, we tend to think of rock-stars snorting coke off of groupies’ stomachs, homeless junk- ies shooting up...and Charlie Sheen. The thought of a children’s TV presenter getting her supply from her mother is not one that immediately springs to mind. Nor do we imag- ine it happening in the lush environ of Islington. But it is this combina- tion that comes together at the small albeit trendy Almeida theatre in ‘The Knot of the Heart’ by David Eldridge. The play focuses on Lucy and her ever-loving mother, Barbara. It opens with Lucy having been fired after be- ing caught with opium on the set of Animal House, prompting her to move in with her mother until she finds her feet. Lucy spirals out into IV hero- in, and the dark world that surrounds it. She moves to rehab to try and get clean, which would be easier if Bar- bara would stop buying her drugs;; the mother who will do anything for her daughter. Lucy realises the only way to get clean is to cut away from Barbara. Technically, the play is simple, per- formed on a rotating table divided by glass into three rooms which serve a multitude of settings. The acting is strong throughout, but not without lapses. I wasn’t entirely convinced by Lucy’s euphoric bliss or being wretchedly strung out. The Stanley knife-wielding dealer, while aggres- sive and slimy, made me feel more awkward than intimidated. But these were momentary faults in an other- wise engaging performance by the cast. At intermission, I was ambivalent towards the play. Lucy had few re- deeming features, she seemed selfish and self-absorbed. I was worried the performance would stray into moralis- ing. But in the second half, I came to sympathise with Lucy as she struggled
Rhys Davies Guest Writer Frankenstein, recently opened at the National Theatre, directed by Danny Boyle and starring John- ny Lee Miller and Benedict Cum- berbatch is, in one word, Fantastic! From the start, where lightning ripples through a wedge of myriad stage-lights to a great womb-like sack, through to the finish, where the Monster leads Frankenstein further on into the luminance of the Arc- tic wastelands. I was enraptured by a powerful story, powerfully told. Based upon the book by Mary Shel- ley, a scientist gives life to an inani-
to escape both heroin and the smother- ing presence Barbara. This is not a play simply about addiction;; it is about fa- milial love and k nowing when to say no. Most of the action happens off- stage. What’s left are a series of prob- ing conversations, and a few spilled fluids. Medical staff are portrayed well by the play. The chipper Brummie nurse in A&E takes no nonsense from Lucy but is at the same time deeply sympathetic to her horrific revelations. The Brummie rehab worker (there were an awful lot of Brummies for North London) is gently insistent that Lucy try group therapy. The psychia- try SHO (affectionately nicknamed ‘Dr. Twat’) comes across as well- meaning but a bit plummy. There were certainly a few phrases in his script that sounded quite familiar;; when he walked on-stage, I could have sworn I was looking in a mirror. As the few positive influences in the performance, the play reflects well on the profession. Late in the play, there is heated ar- gument over whether addiction is an illness or a character flaw. Whilst we invest in medical and cognitive thera- pies to treat the consequences of ad- diction, should we consume resources on people who harm themselves de- liberately, when there are thousands dying on cancer wards? The break- downs of Lucy and Barbara show that addiction, and its ramifications, have a devastating impact on families, something that should not be ignored. This is not a moral tale on the dan- gers of drugs. Instead, it is an engag- ing story on the demon of middle- class addiction, and the far worse demon of middle-class enablement. If you’re looking for a show out- side the glitz and schmaltz of the West End, that cuts a little deeper, I thoroughly recommend this play.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Kiranjeet Gill Guest Writer As Henrietta Lacks lay dying in the ‘coloureds only’ ward at John Hopkins Hospital in 1951, she had no idea she was about to change the course of medical history. She was just 31 when diagnosed with an ag- gressive and invasive cervical can- cer, dying later that same year. A cell sample was taken from her initial tu- mour and grown in a lab by her doc- tor, George Gey. Instead of dying like countless other tumour cells, Henri- etta’s cells kept growing and dividing in vitro, and so became the world’s first immortal cell line, named HeLa. Today, nearly 60 years after her death, Henrietta’s cells continue to di- vide, and have been involved in many of the major medical advances of the
mid-20th century, including the polio vaccine and the discovery of chemo- therapy agents. However, there is a darker side to all this;; Gey did not ob- tain permission for a cell sample to be taken, and Henrietta’s family did not discover for many years that their mother’s cells were still alive, being produced in their t rillions each week as part of a multi-million dollar industry. ‘The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks’ by Rebecca Skloot tells the story of this remarkable woman and her family, who lived in poverty in the heart of a segregated America. Born in Virginia in 1920, Henrietta lived with her grandfather in former slave quarters, next to the tobacco fields in which she worked. She had her first child aged just 14, and was pregnant with her fifth when she re- ceived her devastating diagnosis. The family Henrietta left behind
The Knot of the Heart is showing at the Almeida theatre until 30th April. Tickets start from £8.
was immensely troubled. Her young- est daughter was institutionalised whilst her other children were brought up in an abusive environment. 22 years after Henrietta’s death, the family was rocked by the revelation that her cells were still alive. It was even harder for them to accept given their continued poverty. Some members of the fam- ily certainly felt that they were owed a debt;; as Henrietta’s eldest son asked “if our mother’s so important to science, why can’t we get health insurance?”. The book fulfils many roles: it is a biography, a family history and social commentary, as well as a crash course in some of the major medical advances of the 20th century. It also provides a brief account of the dozens of ethi- cally unsound experiments carried out by doctors and scientists, eager to test the power of their new research tools, highlighting the murky history associ- ated with modern medicine. With a background as a biologist and a jour- nalist, Skloot has crafted a compel- ling narrative that seems to tread a fine line between fact and fiction. The effort she has put into her research is obvious throughout the book, yet it often reads like a novel, partly due to the Lacks family’s fascinating his- tory but also due to Skloot’s skill as a storyteller. She combines medicine and literature to great effect, mak- ing it of interest to scientists, but also very accessible to the non-specialist. One minor criticism I have of the book is the author’s insistence to make herself part of the story. Whilst her hard work and perseverance are ad- mirable, the constant reminder of her struggle to write the book detracts somewhat from the matter at hand. However, it is still a very worthwhile read, and I can only praise Skloot for returning the human side to a woman whose name has for years been reduced to a mere four letters: Henrietta Lacks, who unwittingly changed the world
Danny Boyle’s Frankenstein at The National Theatre mate body but, terrified by his success, drives the Monster away. After being taught by an old and blind former-lec- turer in the woods, the Monster returns to confront Frankenstein and bargains with him to create a wife. Franken- stein is torn between the revulsion he feels for his creation and his Faustian curiosity in refining his occult ex- periment. The story explores the idea of whether a creature is born evil as well as moral limits, something which Frankenstein appears oblivious too. The play opens with the birth of the Monster, and it does feel like a birth. After repeated lightning strikes, he flops out of a leather frame and spends ten visceral minutes learning to move and walk, stark naked. Even
as a medical student, I truly believed that these were first attempts at co-or- dinated movement. The development of the Monster was finely crafted. From clumsy steps and unintelligible moans, we witness his movements and speech become finer, and with them, reason and logic blossom. This might be a shock to those expecting a clunking hulk, replete with neck- bolts;; indeed, the Monster’s flourish- ing is a surprise to even his maker. The night I went, Miller played the part of the Monster and Cumberbatch Frankenstein, each actor was superb. In a quirky casting twist, they alter- nate the main roles with each perfor- mance. The prospect of seeing each actor tackle the other role is some-
thing that might tempt me back for a repeat viewing. What I found impres- sive was the innovative use of staging. The play employs a turntable, tracks (for an intricate steam-punk train), and raises and drops parts of the stage for different scenes. Props descend from the ceiling on wires, as well as a morning rainfall and a wintry bliz- zard. Though clearly complex, none of this interrupts the f low of the story and all the scenes are remarkably swift and fluid. The downside of all this techni- cal wizardry is that it is unlikely, nay, impossible, for the play to go on tour. With films such as ‘28 Days Later’, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and ‘127 Hours’ on his CV, Boyle has a strong story- telling reputation. Between him and
the play’s author, Nick Dear, the pro- duction f lows with a strong pace, a feat for a two-hour play with no interval. Though heart-thumpingly dramatic in places, the play is suffused with a dark, wry humour. When not experimenting in the storm-beaten Outer Hebrides, the play has an earthy, real feel to it, with moments of sex, love and violence. Though this review may sound hagiographic, I assure you not a sin- gle word is hyperbolic. For two whole hours, it did not put a note w rong, build- ing on an already strong story to cre- ate an engaging and enthralling work. Simply put, this is theatre at its finest.
Frankenstein is running at the National Theatre until April 17th
DOCTORS’ MESS By Abe Thomas and Oliver Woolf Friday was international procrastination day, but its French founder insisted he had no issues with people putting it off until today. Tomorrow can often be the busiest day of the week for seasoned procrastinators and these are some of the most popular time-wasting activities. In fact, 1 in 5 people are chronic procrastinators and the act of procrastination can often be a gruelling task. Imagine the prospect of a looming essay, a non-procrastinator will sit down and write the essay in a couple of hours, the procrastinator will spend the whole weekend preparing. They will think about it and plan it, go for a walk because exercise fuels the mind, download music for inspiration. By the time they come round to writing the thing they’ve completed 101 other tasks.
However, PROCRASTINATORS, you do not need to punish yourselves, just induge:
Facebook We’ve all heard of it, most of us have signed up for it and the unlucky few can’t get enough of it. With updates from all your friends at the touch of a button it’s harder to resist than a greasy kebab after a week long bender. We all love peering into other people’s lives, especially at a distance. Hey, why talk to people when you can indulge your voyeuristic tendencies with the touch of a button? This is almost the ultimate procrastination tool since the constant refreshment of your facebook page produces a 100 ‘new’ statuses from people just as bored and uninteresting as your life is right now
Online shopping So you’ve been planning to buy that new designer handbag or ball gag that the missus has been harping on about, for ages. And what better time to do the research, waste countless hours examining low quality pixelated pictures of items you can’t afford than when you have an important exam or paper due? The main benefits include short term endorphin release as your windows (see what I did there?) shopping activates your reward pathway according to some survey conducted some time in the past, based on the wishful thinking area of your brain.
Youtube Have you seen the latest person hurting themselves comically/ animal doing vaguely cute thing/ celebrity sex tape/rant about absolutely nothing from people who are experts on the subject? Well here’s the place to catch up! The fact that after you’re done watching whatever you intended, there’s always 20 more options to choose from via the right hand column means this procrastination requires little thinking beyond the first video. So now, you can watch things that are barely related to something you weren’t really that excited about watching in the first place! But now you’re in the loop, you must forward this link on or the fact that the world doesn’t know that you have been privy to the latest Charlie sheen rant means your head. might. just. explode.
Sleeping Ok, so all the thousands of words have turned into black squiggles against a white background and you have idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpora echoing in your head in the voice of a little girl from a bad horror movie. By
Whilst utilizing the best medical www.postsecret.com resource around i.e. Wikipedia, why Postsecret is a bit different. Read not stop off at some of these equally people’s intimate confessions useful websites. portrayed on the back of a postcard. Funny, sad and thoughtwww.sporcle.com provoking. QUIZZES! On everything you can think of from naming every country www.youtube.com in the world, to identifying medical Endless hours of entertainment. Latin terms. And then there’s the Try this one : “Baby dancing to Harry Potter Quiz. Beyonce.”
Having a down day? Someone’s is Enough said. worse.
this time, the 4 pro-pluses and 7 cans of imitation red bull you’ve consumed in the last hour has been processed by your system (due to your exponentially increased tolerance) and the caffeine crash has almost hit you. Just give up and let your REM cycles take you to a land far away where science and medicine don’t really exist. Or if you’re like the rest of us, you’ll wake up from a dream where you failed your exams to another dream where all your submissions were nullified to reality where there’s still a whole lot of shit left to do and those last 2 things just haven’t happened yet! Shouldn’t have fallen asleep in front of inception, should you?
Planning This is the best procrastination tool since you don’t even realise you’re doing it. Start by making a list of the things you need to do immediately, then the things you want to do soon, then the long term plans, and finally pipe dreams and other who-are-youkidding plans. Once you’ve compiled any of these lists you can spend hours in a semi conscious daydream simultaneously panicking over the huge to do list and fantasising about all the things you could do once this ‘essential’ work is complete. This leaves you in a nirvana like state where nothing is really being done, even though you’re thinking about doing it. It’s the ying yang of procrastination, alleviating your guilt and indulging your wet dreams all at once. So whichever way you’ve decided to conduct your precious time, I imagine you’ve at least managed to stave off 5 mins of revision reading this. I hope I’ve been helpful. Maybe I will be tomorrow…
This is a stroke of genius. Sit back and absorb the world wide web as stumbleupon presents you with websites and images tailored to your tastes. A beautiful experience.
Profound questions you may not have considered in life. Have your middle finger stuck in your nose forever OR live in a giant’s nose forever
CROSSWORD How to look busy during lectures By Robert Cleaver There comes a time in all our lives when monosodium urate crystals no longer matter to us. Their incessant niggling at our toes only makes us recoil in so much fear we smack our heads on the desk behind us and get a concussion. Of course to not attend a lecture you’d have to group yourself in with the ‘bad people’, the ‘parttime studying of the bottom of beer glasses’ people and the ‘my parents made me do medicine, all I wanted to do was study Fine Art at the local poly, please let me go home now’ people. Nobody wants the hassle of an angry lecturer emailing you. If you want to stick on the right side of lecturers, but avoid every single word they spit out of their monotone, rigor mortis inducing speeches, then there are some tips that you should follow. Looking intrigued. This one takes some mastering. This is because it’s a fine line between intrigue and paedophilia. Of course the likelihood that a child is attending the lecture is unlikely, just try to avoid it during such courses as ‘The Human Life Cycle’ especially the labour process. The idea goes as follows: oscillate your eyebrows between up and down (in a confused state) and screw your mouth up slightly. Not so much it looks like you sucked 500 lemons for lunch. You’d have such a low body pH that if anyone were to touch you they’d melt, and not because you’re so devilishly handsome either. So you’re looking intrigued. You’re
A N S W E R S
interested. The next thing to do is ensure you are looking at the screen. Don’t be looking intrigued at the girl next to you. It’s probably a bit creepy, and the fact her boyfriend is there might get you an unwanted meeting with his metacarpals. Of course this would be a legitimate way to leave the lecture theatre, but you’d probably be bleeding the world a whole new amazon river at the time, so it’s not the most effective way of departing. The screen is what you should look at, and whether, in your head, you’re watching Tom and Jerry or the 2006 Nuts Top Babes DVD, just looking at the screen can help.
Take a computer. This is a brilliant technique. No longer do you have to feign writing by drawing vicious cartoons of the 3rd year that rejected you last friday, or etching a landscape of hills and flowers to take you away from this wretched hell, now you can sit in a lecture and just because you have a computer you’re leading the race in dedication. However, just by simply lugging your windows 95 burdened 400kg beast to the lecture, doesn’t mean you have to access any information; you can whip Solitaire out. What’s more time consuming than a game that very few people win every round? Remaining conscious. The obvious
way to avoid a lecture would be to slip into unconsciousness. Someone hitting their face off the wall or eliciting the help of a friend to smack you round the face with a cricket bat would draw unwanted attention to yourself. The juvenile thing to do would be to paint eyes on your eyelids, but of course this is far beyond your stubby chipolata fingers; you’re more ‘war zone’ than ‘Warhol’ so try to actually remain conscious. There are other ways to stay awake and for real results, it involves a little bit of pain. Try pinching yourself at regular intervals just to make sure you don’t fall asleep or to remind yourself that this boredom is actual waking life. Caffeine offers a quick fix and is legally available in starbucks and most people’s cupboards although we recommend buying your own. Chocolate offers a quick sugar fix and ensures that some serotonin is released from your brain, something that most lectures seem to drain in abundance. If all of that saves, try the oldest trick in the book – and just get a good night’s rest, you silly student! So now that you’re an intrigued, solitaire playing, giant laptop lugging quack you should be more than capable of faking your interest in a professional medical situation...
1. Symptom of ulner nerve compression (4,4) 5. Competitive medical student (6) 7. Commonest cause of small bowel obstructions (9) 8. Non fluent aphasia (6) 10. Syndrome of dysphagia, glossitis, & iron deficiency anaemia (7,6) 13. Muscle in the arm (7) 15. Assessment of the newborn (5) 16. Drug for spasticity (8)
1.Home of Barts and the London Rugby team (11) 2. Artery supplying oxygen to the olfactory bulb - Second word (8) 3. Nocturnal teeth grinding (7) 4. Literally a flesh like process (11) 6. Ranked 14th best UK medical school according to the Guardian (5) 9. Artery supplying oxygen to the olfactory bulb - First word (8) 11. Hormone regulating appetite (6) 12. Adrenal gland core (7) 14. A surgeons favourite tool (9)
Look for the answers in next month’s paper!
Sport Sports Editor: Jonny Jeffery firstname.lastname@example.org
ICSM take on Imperial College in Varsity ‘11 Imperial College win overall but Imperial Medicals RFC take home another trophy
Medicals captain Johnny Fisher-Black tries to find a way through the IC lines. Image by Chetan Khatri
Jonny Jeffery Sports editor
Imperial Medicals..25 Imperial College.....12 On the 17th March hundreds of Impe- rial College students took part in 25 matches in 10 sports from water polo to football as the Medics battled the rest of the university in Varsity 2011. Matches were played in a num- ber of West London venues and the day culminated with Imperial College RFC and Imperial Medicals RFC go- ing head to head in the JPR Williams cup which was held this year at the impressive Twickenham Stoop Sta- dium, home to the London Harlequins RFC. This Rugby cup competition is
It’s an underdog eat dog world Andrew Smith Guest Writer
Barts.....................17 St. George’s..........18 It is probably fair to say that every UH team (except George’s...) fancied Barts and The London RFC for the win in their 1st round UH Cup match against St George’s Hospital RFC. It was perhaps this slight arrogance combined with George’s palpable de- sire to reach the final, seasoned with a few controversial referee decisions
named after St Mary’s old boy John Peter Rhys Williams, a former Wales full back, and is the largest spectator event in the Imperial sporting calendar. Coaches began to d rop students off at the Stoop from 18.00 onwards to watch the much anticipated finale along with past students, Imperial staff and guests. With a venue such as this and approxi- mately 1,400 people present, the two Rugby teams must have been feeling the pressure to perform more than ever. Having never lost the rugby Varsity since its inception eight years ago and still fresh from their UH successes of the previous week the Medicals were strong favourites. The team remained relatively unchanged since the win against George’s and the starting XV included Club president Jamie Rutter who had sustained an open dislocation
that allowed George’s to seal the win. What a nail-biting end it was though, with BL scoring a try in the last play of the game leaving a tough kick at goal to decide whether it was win or lose. One would expect to see such an ending in a Hollywood sports film. Unfortunately though, there was no happy ending (for BL at least). Over the last 4 years BLRFC have gained t wo promotions in the university (BUCS) leagues and currently compete in the SE England 1st Division where they f inished in 3rd place this year. Last year they achieved 3rd place in UH, their highest ranking for many a year. However, if this year has proved any- thing it is that one cannot predict a cup fixture;; especially one in the oldest cup in rugby. Good on George’s for getting to the final and bring on next year
“He doesn’t want to be a surgeon anyway so it’s ok if his thumb falls off”
of the thumb 5 days earlier. However I was reliably informed that “he doesn’t want to be a surgeon anyway so it’s ok if his thumb falls off”. Thank God for that. Entertainment for the onlookers, as if they needed more, was provided by the Imperial College Wind Band and the Im- perial College Titans, the College’s new cheerleading squad which had everyone transfixed by their, ahem, choreography. It was an energetic start from both teams on the pitch and from the support- ers who were in good voice. It was clear that nerves needed settling as both teams missed early penalties f rom in f ront of the posts. It wasn’t long before the Medicals got another chance and kicker Dan Nev- ille put the f irst points on the board. How- ever, within minutes IC had hit back with the f irst t ry of the game. Shortly after, the Medicals had a man sent off leaving them one down until the half time whistle. An early try and conversion by IC in the second half took the score to 12–3. The Medicals then finally relaxed into their game and we began to see some of the fantastic rugby that has made this team such a force to be reckoned with. Imperial Medicals got a try and con- version as well as another great penalty kick by Dan Neville taking them into the lead for the first time in the match. With 15 minutes to go the match was still for the taking until Craig Nightin- gale’s converted try catapulted the Medi- cals into a solid lead of 20-12 which they secured with another try in the closing minutes taking the final score to 25–12. A very disappointed Imperial Col- lege side received medals from Sir Keith O’Nions and their number 13 Ben Adu- bi went home with the much deserved Man of the Match award. JPR Williams himself presented the Medics Captains, Ed Pickles and Jonny Fisher-Black with the JPR Williams Cup trophy which has now been lifted by them 9 times
George’s take down GKT titans Charlie West Guest Writer
GKT.......................15 St. George’s..........17 GKT have been in the final against the Imperial medics for over 10 years now and George’s were determined for their chance to play in the cup fi- nal. This was obvious from the start whistle with the George’s boys scrap- ping for everything they could. The pitch was in an atrocious state making it hard for GKT to get a good
But it wasn’t all about the rugby... The rest of the varsity matches kicked off at 9:00am (as did the boozing) with hockey, football, lacrosse and rugby 2nds and 3rds playing at Harlington Sports Ground, home to QPR FC. The ICSM men’s Hockey 3s were playing their first varsity fixture ever and after a long and closely fought match lost 1-0 to IC. The ICSM Women’s hockey 2s had a repeat of last year with a no score draw although the match was far from uninteresting. Injuries on both sides, sending offs and a disallowed medic goal in the closing minutes kept the crowd of onlookers amused. As did the clashes between the IC fans and the ICSM ‘mascot’ which consisted of the most intoxicated fresher being dressed up as a phoenix and sent to the other end of the pitch to bait the IC fans until either the ref stepped in or someone stole his head, thus ensued a rather lively game of ‘get the head back’. Lacrosse at Imperial is a mixed medics and non medics club but for the purposes of varsity they had split themselves into respective teams of mixed gender. A few of the men found it hard to tone down the full contact sport they are used to resulting in some nasty injuries, but the Medics came out top with a comprehensive 13-4 victory. Meanwhile on the neighbouring pitch the rugby 3rd teams were getting physical. An early IC lead was soon cut back by an ICSM penalty and try taking them into the second half with an 8-5 lead. As the game entered the closing minutes, the Medicals had a 1412 lead but scrappy play gave away a penalty giving IC the opportunity to kick for the match win. There were gasps all around as the IC kicker grazed the outside of the post handing the win to the ICSM. Back to the hockey, the Medic men’s 2s won after goal keeper Preth De Silva saved a penalty off the line but both the men’s and women’s hockey 1st teams lost their matches to IC after a few last minute scrambles in the IC danger zone didn’t deliver the goods. As the matches at Harlington drew to a close, students retired to the club room for a few not-so-quiet drinks whilst they awaited the coaches that would take everyone to the rugby.
grip and out-muscle the smaller St George’s pack. The match started off well for GKT with the ball won from a kick off deep in George’s territory. The resulting pressure from several scrums made it easy for Rob Hone to cross for the 5 pointer in the corner. George’s hit back with aggressive running from their smaller, fitter for- wards that forced a penalty right in front of Guy’s posts. The George’s kick- er missed one, but converted the next. George’s, spurred on by the large crowd that had come to support, maintained possession and forced an overlap out wide and crossed in the corner to score. Further attempts from Guy’s to get an attack going failed as drives up the pitch were played too wide and players ran out of support. However the GKT defensive line was solid and remained
unbroken until the close of the half. In the second half Guy’s had some passages of play that really showed what the team can do forcing a relative- ly easy penalty for Freddie Hartley in front of the goal (which he missed), al- though this was soon put right when his next attempt sailed between the posts. More ill discipline cost the GKT boys another penalty and scrappy play continued up until the last 10 minutes of play. The George’s line faltered briefly allowing GKT through for a try giv- ing them a brief one point lead. With five minutes left on the clock, George’s forced another penalty in front of the GKT posts and converted. The game closed at 17-15 to George’s, a brilliant result for a side that hasn’t been in the UH f inal for many years but a tough one to take on the chin for the Guy’s boys
Sport 136 years of rugby The history of the UH cup
I say, pass the pigs bladder old chap. Image from ICSM archives
Jonny Jeffery Sports Editor Rugby has long been described as a hooligan’s sport played by gentlemen (football of course, being the opposite). Throughout most of the 20th Century this was certainly the case. Rugby had been developing in UK public schools since the 1820s but it was another 20 or so years before it became a university sport, soon becoming incredibly popu- lar within London Medical Schools. In 1875, Guy’s and St George’s hos- pitals took to the field at The Oval to play what would be the first Rugby Cup competition ever to be played in the world;; The United Hospitals Rugby Cup. During this match the Guy’s cap- tain, an English International forward named Gray, managed to dislocate his shoulder and was unable to relocate it despite the help of four Guy’s orthopae- dic surgeons. He finished the match as a full back and managed to relocate his shoulder afterwards with the assistance
of the anaesthetists using chloroform. Guy’s went on to win what has since become one of the most influential rugby competitions in the world, pio- neering the 15-a-side rugby match seen in the sport today. Numerous Interna- tionals have played in UH Finals, the most obvious of which being the pre- sent UH patrons, Dr John O’Driscoll and the legendary JPR Williams. George’s last won the final in 1882 and have won 3 times since the com- petition’s inception. Before this year’s match, Imperial Medicals and their con- stituent medical schools of St Mary’s, Charing Cross and Westminster had won the Cup 49 times and this year’s victory takes them to equal wins with the schools that now make up Guy’s Kings and St Thomas’ at 50 apiece. This continues a long period of UH cup success for ICSM, who have now won 12 of the last 14 f inals, although it is fair to say that both teams were thorough- ly deserving of their place in the final of the oldest and one of the most exciting rugby cup competitions in the world
Continued from back page ing it wide. Strong carrying from the forwards and some injections of pace from the back three again continu- ally saw ICSM break into George’s territory but unfortunately, lax dis- cipline around the breakdown con- tinually meant that the Medicals came away from the red-zone without points. Eventually, the pressure showed as the Medicals forwards domi- nance came into its own and Graham Corin was able to go over from the base of a scrum. The kicker added the extras, making the score a more comfortable lead of 20 points to 3. With the Imperial pack tiring, the George’s captain, Ollie Rupar, led by example as his team began to edge the battle into ICSM territory. The George’s forwards demonstrated that ,despite a considerable weight disad- vantage in the scrum, they were able to match the ICSM pack by consist- ently changing the point of attack. Finally, this paid off with the George’s scrum half, Gregory Davies collecting the ball from an ICSM lin- eout and darting through a gap in the Medicals defence to score under the posts. The extras were duly added by Rossiter taking the score to 20–10.
“There isn’t, never has been, and never will be anything quite like hospital cup rugby.” Despite Georges’ try they never managed to get back into the game, and ill-disciplined defending resulted in them needlessly conceding a yel- low card. ICSM capitalised on their one-man advantage and Graham Cor- in was able to break from 10 metres to score his second of the match, with the kicker converting. The score was now 27-10 and the chances of a come- back were looking increasingly slim. George’s had not come this far to concede defeat yet and, once restored
Don’t go towards the light. Image by Chetan Khatri
to their original 15 men, they contin- ued to test the ICSM defence as the last few minutes ticked away but to no avail. The final whistle blew with no fur- ther points scored and ICSM were to retain the title of UH cup champions for another year. The Imperial crowd hurled what was left of their pints in the air and the George’s fans ap- plauded a performance which bodes extremely well for a rugby team that have gone from strength to strength in recent years and could be a regular contender for the cup in finals to come.
Ollie Rupar received the man of the match award for a heroic display as captain for SGHMS, but the ICSM captain Jamie Rutter unfortunately spent the evening celebrating his team’s success in A+E, af- ter sustaining an open dislocation of the thumb in the last 10 minutes of the match. Dr John O’Driscoll (previous rugby International and UH final- ist) summed up the evening’s festivi- ties perfectly during the medal cer- emony – “There isn’t, never has been, and never will be anything quite like hospital cup rugby.” Amen
The victorious Imperial Medicals RFC with the UH cup trophy. Image by Jakob Mathiszig-Lee
medicalstudent April 2011
Varsity: Medics take on Non Medics at Imperial Page 22
The UH Cup: The oldest rugby cup competition in the world Page 23
More Rugby!: Match reports from George’s Vs GKT and Bart’s Page 22
Imperial Medicals win the double The ICSM rugby team continue to dominate the UH Cup and Varsity
ICSM raise a glass to their victorious rugby squad. Image by Chetan Khatri
Jamie Rutter & Branavan Rudran Guest writers
Imperial Medicals..27 St. George’s..........10 Imperial Medicals RFC won their 50th United Hospitals Cup title this year, beating St Georges Hospital RFC in a tightly contested match at Richmond Athletics Ground. St Georges were an unknown quantity, who last won the cup 129 years ago in contrast to the Imperial Medicals, who have taken the cup home for 12 of the last 14 years. On the 11th March, the mascots of the
respective sides were present, the well watered supporters were in f ull voice and the scene was set for the UH cup final. The tension in the air was palpa- ble and the first clash of the game oc- curred before the teams were even on the pitch. One of the George’s players ‘accidentally collided’ with the ICSM mascot (known as ‘the Mary’s fairy’) on their way out of the t unnel, k nocking the unfortunate individual to the floor. The game kicked off to a frantic start, it soon became clear that Georg- es intended on playing the match at break neck speed, with the aim of dis- rupting the opposition’s defence and stopping the more powerful Imperial side setting up any kind of rhythm. The first half was littered with mis-
takes from both sides and was charac- terised mostly by f urious defending and big hits. Eventually, the deadlock was broken when the Medicals were award- ed a penalty in kicking range, which was duly converted by Dan Neville to give Imperial Medicals a 3 point lead.
“Further clashes between the team’s supporters, resulted in one of the George’s mascots being forcibly ejected by stadium security” However, the larger Imperial pack meant George’s had to consistently commit more men to the break down,
allowing ICSM to string together an undisrupted series of phases. This cul- minated in a driven lineout in the cor- ner, allowing Josh Balogun-Lynch to go over the whitewash for the first try of the game. The try was duly converted to give the Medicals a 10 point lead. This was soon trimmed back to 7 as St Georges were awarded a penal- ty. Chris Record, the SGHMS no. 10, kicked magnificently to put SGHMS into good field positions, yet despite consistent pressure by SGHMS and a few unforced ICSM errors, a try re- mained elusive to the title challengers. Following a substitution, the Medicals began to control possession and man- aged to keep the ball in George’s ter- ritory for the remainder of the half.
This paid off in the dying minutes as a well worked move from a lin- eout left room on the blindside, al- lowing Captain Jonny Fisher-Black to go over in the far corner to make the score 15–3 going in at half-time. Further clashes between the team’s supporters, and a good deal of fine ale being wasted as aerial missiles, resulted in one of the George’s mas- cots being forcibly ejected by sta- dium security, much to the glee of the on-looking ICSM crowd. After the break, Imperial’s for- wards resumed their ugly, yet effective method of testing the SGHMS fring- es, drawing men in and then spread-
Continued on page 23
2-3 RAG Week
Bart’s smash RAG record, whilst George’s contend with TfL
4-5 The Results Totals, top events and RAG antics in our graphical spread
6-8 Fashion All the best images from the medical schools’ fashion shows
Bart’s smash RAG record The committee recount the week which saw Bart’s break their RAG total for the second year in a row
his year’s Bart’s and the Lon- don RAG Committee were determined to cement Bart’s spot as the best RAG medi- cal school in London. Over £140,000 was made during the seven days of ragging, breaking the RAG week re- cord for the second year in a row. After months of prepara- tion, meetings (even during exam week) and all manner of adminis- trative tasks, RAG Week began. The office was set and ready for our very first ragger of the week at 6am. The day ran as smoothly as a first day could possibly run. However, after a quiet Friday and Saturday, we were a little worried that things were going a little too slowly for our liking. The RAG committee had to make sure that ragging from Monday onwards was up to the right sort of standard. The first planned event at the Grif- fin Bar was Poker Night. Players ar- rived at the union, dressed the part with their mirror-practiced poker fac- es, ready to win them the top prize - a tab at the bar. The night ran swim- mingly and generally set the tone for what would be an awesome week. Things were picking up after our first union night. The next day saw a fresher return to the RAG office
with a split bucket, having ragged so hard. Shock soon became elation. Yes, we lost a bucket, but that was the least of our worries – ragging that hard deserves some sort of accolade! That evening, we celebrated with our BL Arts Evening, which saw talents from the BL orches- tra and BL bands and singers per- form to a very packed audience.
“The Arnold Schwarzenegger of BL, our very own Jeeves was called-up to do what he does best – motivate our freshers to get out there and RAG” Wednesday had to be big, and the committee k new that. We had to call in the big g uns. The A rnold Schwarzeneg- ger of BL, our very own Jeeves (our un- ion president f rom last year) was called- up to do what he does best – motivate our freshers to get out there and RAG. His tear-jerking speech, as was the case last year, managed to persuade the freshers to spend a few hours ragging, which did wonders for our total. It was no surprise to find out that Wednesday saw us raise the most we’d ever raised
in a single day of ragging in BL his- tory – over £36,000 - £6000 more than GKT raised in an entire week this year. Thursday saw a similarly impres- sive day of ragging. £50 notes were being donated to raggers at a rate faster than any George’s medic could pronounce the word ‘dysdiadochoki- nesis’ without getting tongue-tied. Our Band Night at the un- ion was just as successful with more being raised for our charities. Friday saw the culmination of what was a fantastic week. Our tired raggers celebrated their success in style with an ‘Elegance’ and ‘Radius’ Reunion after party at the Griffin – a night which saw members from both our hugely successful RAG associat- ed shows dance the night away. RAG Week at Barts and The London is always big. We are renowned for annihilating our Lon- don medical school coun- terparts by smashing our RAG totals year-on-year in a bid to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for a myriad of charities. Socially, RAG week is practically equivalent to Fresh- er’s Fortnight with events held on each
night of the week, except there’s less of the awkward small talk between complete strangers in the snakebite- stained walls of the Griffin Bar, and more celebratory chants at the smash- ing amounts we’ve raised throughout each day. BL saw a chal-
lenge, rose up to it and completed it with style. We turned it around mid- week to break our RAG Week re- cord for the second year in a row, a feat we know every BL student will be proud to have been a part of. A ‘well done’ simply isn’t enough. BL has done it again - and done it big! The London certain- ly is ‘the best place in the land, cor blimey!’
ICSM confound circle-line commuters Steve Tran The mere mention of RAG week is enough to send any Londoner or TfL worker running and screaming. So, when the Imperial freshers descend- ed upon London in the early hours of Monday morning to catch the com- muters en route to work, many re- gretted skipping their morning cof- fee. Truth be told, though, not even coffee could have facilitated a perki- ness to rival that of the freshers. RAG games on Monday night was followed by the first “Battle Of the Bands” ever hosted at the Reyn- olds bar. It was one of bar’s more chilled-out evening with talents from ICSM and St George’s battling it out for the title of “Best Band”. Sadly to say, SGUL snatched the title from us. Our Super-Hero themed RAG IN- VASION involved challenges ranging from getting a photo with a police- man (preferably not in handcuffs), to making a human pyramid in front of Big Ben, to a dip in the freezing Ser- pentine. One group even managed the bonus task by broadcasting their RAG message on CapitalFM. All Super-
Heroes (I know it sounds lame, but we all felt pretty cool at the time) congre- gated at Trafalgar Square for the tradi- tional photo, where the RAG chair ac- cidently revealed to all exactly what a cold dip in the fountains can do to you! Over 600 medics descended on the circle line to complete the infamous Cir- cle-Line pub-crawl. It was a day off for everyone to enjoy a casual pint or two, have a social mingle, or for some to re- mind others they still exist (especially the 4th years that had been cooped up revising for exams that ended that day). One reveller decided to com- mute the entire circle line by Boris’ Bikes, proclaiming it “Cycle Line”. The finalists ended their night with the rest of the medical school at a lit- tle known nightclub in Putney - Fez. Many managed to party until the early hours of the morning. In fact, I’m sure there are some that are still partying. RAG Games rounded off the week, where the RAGgiest fresher, Angus Turnbull, was crowned. We raised over £23,000 for St Mary’s Paediatric Department. No one can ever say that all medics do is work. We’re fun too. I promise
Image by Chetan Khatri
George’s battle TfL to save RAG Ayoma Ratnappuli
dies fighting it out for a date with some of our smoothest bachelors. Ray Sacks un- A life-size artistic representation of Pamela dertook the arduous task of being our very Anderson sans clothing, coordinating thir- own northern matchmaker. Armed with ty odd trolleys to push around Wimbledon, his best medic puns and Bolton accent, dreaming of coin counting…it could only the night was a massive success. Comedy be the life and times of SGUL RAG 2011! Night, RAG Circles and Family Fortunes Fundraising began in Fresher’s week when were also triumphant, with good turnouts. we sold merchandise and goodies at events. The first day of mashing saw lots of stu- In November, SGUL took part in Movember dents, armed with their scrubs and buckets, as George’s guys (and gals) sported their best hit the tubes. Students employed a range of moustaches for The Prostate Cancer Charity. tactics to seduce London’s commuters into Joseph Machta single-handedly raised over donating money, varying from serenades £3000 with his multicoloured moustache. with a ukulele to the more scandalous boys Several SGUL societies and sports teams in nurses’ outfits offering a grope of their posed for the RAG calendar, thanks to the balloon-filled assets. In five days SGUL willingness of George’s students to strip off. students raised over £19,000 from mashing RAG fortnight kicked off in February alone. It was looking like we were finally with the ‘anything beginning with R, A, or reversing the trend of declining RAG totals. G’ disco during which 118-118 style run- However, a run-in with TfL five days ners, glittery acrobats and bling-clad gang- into RAG fortnight quickly put an end to sters descended on the SU bar. George’s mashing. We still had over £5,000 to raise does Take Me Out had our finest single la- in order to meet out minimum-pledge
GKT go Retro for RAG
amounts to our charities. Thankfully it seemed the George’s love for RAG, which we had feared was slipping away, was in fact at its highest and students continued to enjoy the events being held despite be- ing thwarted by the pesky transport police. Bingo & Band night, Hollywood Dis- co, Pram Race and a Baywatch themed Man-O-Man featuring more slow-mo run- ning, Barbie rescue and baby oil than the Hoff himself could handle, helped SGUL RAG tally up nearly £21,000. Having manually bagged more money than we’ve ever owned (coin-counter fail), felt the wrath of TfL and seen more naked students than we would ever care to, we charity officers ended RAG bleary-eyed with our tails between our legs at times. Nevertheless, thanks to the generos- ity of SGUL staff and students who do- nated their time, money and dignity for the greater good, we have been deter- mined to make this year a RAG success.
Veni, Vidi, Velcro - RUMS Break Out
Spot the ragger who fell off the edge just seconds later
Dominic Putt Waking up is hard to do, but would we let our Jailbreakers down? Never! Even after a hard night out clubbing we went about setting up the stall to register the impavid Jailbreakers as they arrived. You could see the faces of the whole RAG team light up as Jailbreakers with incredible costumes walked through the doors: from lions, bunny rabbits and ravens to astronauts, gladiators and morph suit ballerina’s, we had them all! There was a definite buzz in the air as the teams registered and waited to be re- leased on their adventure of a lifetime, trav- elling as far away from UCL as possible in just 36 hours without spending any money. As we shouted “good luck”, the Jail- breakers began running as fast as they could out through the main UCL gates. You could see the excitement run- ning through the Jailbreak HQ as teams
started checking in, with their loca- tions being plotted on the interactive map provided by Choose a Challenge. The first team to make it out of England was the team Veni, Vidi, Velcro, somehow managing to blag a Eurostar ticket to Paris.
“On the way to Luxembourg, sadly don’t share any common language with our drivers so we could be wrong.” We took it in shifts to watch the moni- tors, as each team had to check in at least every 6 hours, and if they didn’t it was panic! But with phone calls, facebook mes- sages and frantic texting, we managed to contact the occasionally non-responding teams and the mini-crisis were soon over. Some of the messages we received had
been informative, while others were just downright hilarious. Some of the favour- ites included, team Blonde Bombshells, “staying in a sweet army mess and having a beer with the army boys!” and team Ed and Sam’s, “On the way to Luxembourg, sadly don’t share any common language with our drivers so we could be wrong.” Teams of fugitives made it to Mi- lan, Zurich, Berlin, Hamburg, Lyon and even Krakow, Budapest or Prague! None of it would have been possible with- out the RAG team of Hana, Jenny, Matt, Sarah, Laura, Andy and Charlie, as well as all the help that Rob, from Choose a Chal- lenge, provided throughout the weekend. Although I wasn’t a Jailbreak myself, I will never forget that weekend. From plan- ning the event in December, to it actu- ally taking place, I never could have an- ticipated 128 people taking part and never, in my wildest dreams, did I imagine that the event would raise over £13,000
Katie Allen takes a trip on the Mystery Machine
LSE’s penguin gets into the spirit of RAG week
GKT RAG Week 2011 was, as ever, a ridiculous week of late nights, early mornings, gin, snakebite and fun! Of course, RAG is about so much more than freezing your ‘nads off and begging strangers to empty their pockets. We made sure we rewarded our RAGgers with excellent events every night. Since RAG can do ‘classy’ just as well as ‘vomiting into your own pint glass’, we celebrated the first day of collections with a sophisticated party at the top of Guy’s Tower. The Retro Roller Disco was another success – not a single bone was broken despite some impressive pre-lashing before strapping the skates on. Wednesday saw the biggest and best sports night of the year. This year the ever-seductive Tit Squad decided to appear in some particularly raunchy French Maid outfits and covered themselves and the baying crowd in whipped cream. Throughout the week several males were left with some questionable new haircuts and a distinct lack of dignity. It was a wild week of partying, and we even managed to to take a trip on the Mystery Machine. Turning up to our Top Secret Destination (erm…Southampton), we did what RAG does best: cause mischief. Whether stealing toys, grabbing vital supplies from the local sex shop, or contravening several public exposure laws, we showed Southampton what GKT are made of! In the aftermath of RAG week, most of us were busy recovering from the sleep deprivation, liver damage, overdraft abuse and daily McDonalds breakfasts. However, we still managed to squeeze in the wonderful black-tie RAG Formal. In an amazing bar in Covent Garden we enjoyed our drinks and nibbles and gave ourselves a big, smug pat-on-the-back for all of our hard work. We also said a few ‘thank-you’s to those who’ve been particularly committed and gave our ‘RAGgiest Fresher’ award to the lovely Theo Willison-Parry. We raised almost £30,000 for some very deserving charities, chosen as they represent causes close to the hearts of our students. Particularly personal this year is Malaika Kids, which we’re supporting in memory of Muhammed ‘Haris’ Ahmed, a GKT medic (and enthusiastic RAGger) who sadly passed away last year. The cherry on top of the cake was our Jailbreak on March 5th-6th, with a record 128 people taking part. There are also rumours of other events happening throughout the year, so keep your ears to the ground for more information!
“Tube announcement: The people dressed in blue are medical students raising money for charity. Please give generously” - SGUL “We dressed up the LSE penguin in attire fitting for GKT RAG” – GKT “One of our teams hitchhiked all the way to Athens without spending a penny in RAG Jailbreak” – GKT “A fresher managed to get on capital radio and do a RAG shout out during RAG invasion, completing the ultimate bonus challenge” - ICSM
“One RAGger collected so much money in his bucket that the whole bucket split open! He proudly returned with over £850 in a binbag.” - BL “Comedian, Imran Yusuf tweeted about how awesome St George’s Comedy Night was - SGUL
Top five events - attendees
From RAGs to Riches... London medics hitch-hiked, dashed, mashed, flashed and crashed their way through their RAG weeks to raise a record total. To date, medics from the five London schools have raised over £273,412 for 74 charities, smashing last year’s figure of £241,106. This impressive number does not take into account revenue from the fashion shows, or any outstanding sponsorship, potentially making the current figure a significant under-estimate. Reports came in of buckets being split open due to the sheer weight of the cash within them, £50 notes
To date, RAG 2011 has raised over £273,412 for 74 charities. Here are just a few of them.
flowing from commuters and blank cheques put into the hands of freshers. Bart’s raised over half of the London-wide total. Traditionally, each new committee aims to beat the total raised the previous year, putting immense pressure on the individuals involved, but providing the incentive to deliver high totals. St. George’s had their total slashed due to targeting from the British Transport Police. The student union were informed that any students found collecting on the tube would be arrested and issued with a warning.
Great Ormond Street
St. Mary’s Pediatric Department
The Stroke Association
Spectrum is a charity run by students at RUMS that links students with disabled children. Students can broaden their awareness of disability and disadvantaged children are given opportunity to develop a level of independence outside the family.
Great Ormond Street Hospital provides world-class healthcare to young people and support to their families, as well as pioneering new treatments for childhood illness. Most of the children cared for are referred from other hospitals throughout the U.K. and overseas.
St Mary’s is an acute care hospital that diagnoses and treats a range of paediatric conditions and offers a 24-hour paediatric accident and emergency (A&E) service in London. More than 6000 lives have been saved in its paediatric intensive care unit since it opened in 1992.
Strokes are a major health problem and have a greater disability impact than any other medical condition. The Stroke Association funds research into prevention, treatment and better methods of rehabilitation, and helps stroke patients and their families.
“Tube announcement: The people dress in blue are beggars and buskers. DO NOT give them any money - SGUL “Our Lion King Movie Night took place...without the Lion King” - SGUL “The RAG Chair accidentally left the ICSM president behind in Edinburgh during RAG Dash. (Fortunately others realised and went and picked him up)” - ICSM “A traffic cone funnel concussed a female fresher during the first night of RAG Dash” - ICSM
“One of our students was caught by the Transport Police (and was tazered in the face)” – SGUL “A member of the RAG Committee accidentally flashed the whole of Trafalgar Square whilst taking part in the traditional ‘Trow Down’ photo” - ICSM
Top five events - amount raised
Some students were seen fleeing pursuing officers, whilst others had the misfortune of being “tazered in the face”. The union was forced to ban collecting, after pleas of hundreds of years of tradition being destroyed fell on deaf ears at TfL headquarters. Luke Turner, President of SGUL union stated, “RAG has a long and proud tradition amongst medical schools in London. It has always been received well by the greater populous of London. However, our first priority is to our student body, not to RAG.” GKT came in third, having been
knocked off their 2009-2010 position of second place by ICSM. David Smith, president of ICSM commented on their victory over GKT – “We’re delighted to have raised more than GKT in the RAG stakes this year, although not at all surprised”. Despite ICSM’s triumph, both ICSM and GKT raised lower figures than last year. ICSM raised £1,465 less than last year, and GKT £6,257 less. RUMS have made significant progress on their past totals, surpassing the previous two years figures of around £5000 with this year’s total of £13,984.
St. Christopher’s Hospice
HEMS (London’s Air Ambulance)
St. Christopher’s Hospice provides skilled and compassionate palliative care and adult and children bereavement services. Its Education Centre delivers the highest quality palliative and end of life care training resulting from research, practice and experience.
Malaika Kids gives orphans in Tanzania a future by offering them a home and a proper education; children can grow into independent adults. Managing Malaika Children’s villages as well as running a Relatives Support Programme to help relatives take care of orphaned children.
London’s Air Ambulance is London’s only Helicopter Emergency Medical Service, providing pre-hospital care to victims of major trauma throughout the city and the M25 area. Every second counts: their quick response prevents disability, enables better recovery and saves lives.
Alzheimer’s Society works to improve the quality of life of people affected by dementia and their families. Many of their members have personal experience of dementia as carers, health professionals or people with dementia themselves. Their experiences help shape the charity’s work.
John Hardie Analysis & Design Alexander Isted Graphics Linda Mao Graphics Lucia Bianchi Charities With thanks to the RAG committees
Medics scrub up for RAG fashion
n the wake of London’s Fashion Week, March was a time when a new array of medical students’ talents came on display. A show, organised, choreographed and staged within months, centred on art and fashion is impres- sive enough without taking into account the fact that those involved are largely from a non-design background. UCLU took this aspect further, flaunting beautiful pieces of fash- ion that were crafted by students from their own university. Perhaps this is where the real focus of RAG fashion shows lie- the talent of medical students in a field so far removed from their study. Everyone can appreciate the fact that the
GKT strike gold with their venue choice ©
Bart’s show off Far East fashion in their fourth walk
assembly of a show, and a night of partying for the ma- jority of the student body, demands weeks or months, of time, dedication, and creativity from those involved. This year’s RAG shows excelled their predecessors in several ways - KCL’s bold, brave and beautiful hair and make-up moves shone through the night, accentuat- ing the outfits, while Bart’s wowed their audiences with sharp and stunning choreography. Imperial put their best foot forward with an inspired and inventive theme ‘Back to the Future’, and UCL continued to broaden their repertoire with their attractive and alluring stu- dent-made designs. The attention to detail that the or- ganisers poured into the selection and decoration of venues contributed to the shows in aspects such as light- ing and mood, as well as hosting popular afterparties. Last but not least is the generosity of the donators, the designers and those who attended the shows. This, cou- pled to the achievement of the committees, compères and models, ensured the success of the RAG Fashion nights and has done much for the causes that they support.
Bart’s Dancers thrill the audience as the Arabian theme awaits
The show begins with sleek sophistication
It was soon Imperial College’s turn to host their RAG fashion show, held at The Venue on Great Port- land Street, aiming to raise money for St Mary’s Paediatric Department. They boasted a variety of top de- signers providing the clothing such as Hawes & Curtis, Ad Hoc and Crombie, however, the venue lacked the impact desired and didn’t give the same take- your-breath-away feeling as others. This was redeemed by the ingenious ‘Back to the Fashion Future”’theme that followed a journey f rom the Victo- rian era to the future, stopping at each decade along the way to glimpse the fashion and culture of the time. The show began with a seductive
A set of sensual seduction enthralls the audience
UCLU MODO showcased their annual student-run fash- ion show, on the 4th and 5th of March. MODO is unique in that all members are of a non-art background, impressive given the attention to detail and hard work from all involved. Following on from last year’s acclaimed Green Show at the Russell Hotel, MODO returned to its home at UCL Clois- ters. Anticipation heightened with entertainment by an ex- perimental choir and the jazz band, The 1-4-5s, and audi- ences gathered around the catwalk as videos played to show lengthy preparations dating to September. The show started with a bang, opened by talented knit- wear designer Michaela Moores, an Evolutionary Biology PhD student. “The concept is of a tree passing from summer through the depths of winter”. The first half closed with the Kate Middleton collection, as previewed on BBC London News. The princess in waiting would indeed be proud to wear some of these unique piec- es, particularly the stunning floor length dress with the blue sash. Keeping true to the theme of The Show, Aminat Omoto- sho, a Biochemical Engineering student, wowed the audience with an A rabian Nights theme. This was followed by Tori Jor- dan’s fun and frivolous ‘Circus’ collection which raised big cheers. Anna Dzieciol’s fashion forward collection of latex wear drew comparisons with the Mugler AW11 collection, and gasps of admiration.
The starring piece of the Middleton collection, modelled by Kirsten Shastri
A tribute to the swinging 60s
Anna Dzieciol’s Latex-laden high fashion saunters through the catwalk to gasps of awe
and sexy portrayal of early 1900s black and red formalwear for women and Moss Bros for the men. The 30s and 40s followed, encapsu- lating the Moulin Rouge era with erot- ic lingerie and a twist on 40s fashion. Well created choreography mixed in with the modelling, which exuded confidence, and charisma. Often, the decade’s music and dances were incor- porated, particularly well done with the 60s mix of The Contours. The highlights of the evening were the final walks that portrayed the 90s, 00s and future, moving to Imperial’s own Fabrican spray-on clothing. The compères gave an entertain- ing but somewhat controversial per- formance, but this was made up for by performers such as Funkology and a belly dancer, making a success.
Exotic bird inspired dress collection swans through the stage
Beachwear and bikinis heat up springtime
Chica fashion is showed off with style
On Tuesday 8th March the most fabulous fashion event of the Kings year took place at the Hoxton Pony, Shoreditch. 22 gorgeous models strutted through ten catwalks -a from for- mal wear to f uturistic space-outfits, all that is hot in fashion today was on offer. The show aimed for an edgy feel,achieving it with moody lighting and stunning, dramatic hair and make-up. The layout for the event was novel, with the cat- walk spanning two floors. Rokit Vintage opened the night with an American themed collec- tion complete with Stetsons. Fab- ryan followed with sophisticated purple and black evening-wear, and then lovelymonstory whose retro handprinted t-shirts and coordinat- ed jewelry were a hit. The first ses- sion was rounded off spectacularly by Fusion Tap form KCL Dance Soc, with a thoroughly enjoyable zombie inspired performance.
The second session kicked off with Back2Eden featuring African inspired designs, followed by Soul-ja Military’s alternative style. Faye Fraser then demonstrated that knitted outfits are in no way boring with a funky German rave scene in- spired collection. Marmalade had a contrasting feel, with wearable and beautiful dresses. After a break, with enough time for a fashion show signature cocktail, the final act started with some flo- ral designs from Traffic People, and then a change of tone with Cyberdog’s neon outfits causing a stir. Finishing with Chica Boutique’s lovely dresses the show had something for everyone. The hilarious MedSocPresident Hari Haran compèred the night, and Anna-Karin Faircloth worked tire- lessly to arrange and choreograph the catwalks.The show raised money for Alzheimer’s Society, GKT Charity, Malaika Kids, MediCinema and St. Christopher’s Hospice. Money was collected from ticket sales, sponsors MPS and MDU and kind donation from cloakroom takings by the venue.
“The show aimed for an edgy feel, achieving it with moodly lighting and stunning, dramatic hair and make-up” Fabryan showcase their sexy chic pieces
This year marked the tenth an- niversary of Bart’s RAG Fashion Show, which chose to support lo- cal children’s charity City Year Lon- don, and the experience gained across the decade really showed. The acquisition of Fabric, which has a reputation of being one of the top clubs in London, as the venue for the evening was a major coup for the or- ganising committee. This coupled with designers such as Jaeger, Mark Fast and All Saints providing the attire, the night was always set to be a success. From the moment you walked in, you helplessly slipped into the feel-
Dancers pack a punch
SoulJa’s military inspired style
good atmosphere created by the de- lightful duet of vocals and piano de- signed to warm up the audience. If that wasn’t enough to set the mood, the enthusiasm of the night’s compère to introduce the opening dance was inspired, truly lifting the audience. The choreography of the evening was spectacular and real credit must go to the performers. They held such precision in their execution of every dance sequence whilst still maintain- ing explosive, charismatic movement to an array of dubstep remixes inter- laced with chart titles. The first two walks had a fast tem- po scene created by the dancers, with models that oozed charisma and con-
fidence. A starry lighting backdrop behind the contemporary formalwear exhibited by the models gave a sense of Hollywood glamour. Things were brought back down to a slow, sensual setting for the third walk. A mellow soundtrack perfectly ac- companied the relaxed swagger of the models, giving the audience a chance to catch their breath for the highlight of the evening: the fourth walk. Every year the Bart’s Fashion Show attempts to add something original and spectacular, and they more than achieved this with an extravaganza of modelling-dancing combination por- traying clothing from various cultures around the world.
The lingiere collection raises the roof
A daringly steamy mood is weaved in the intimates walk
Editor-in-Chief John Hardie Assistant Editor Amrutha Sridhar Sub Editor Lucia Bianchi Writers Helen Smith, Rebeccah Odedun, Philippe Harbord Photographers Chetan Khatri, Helen Smith, Neha Bhargava, George Lampardariou Image Editors Chetan Khatri, Purvi Patel
KCL get bold with hair and make-up
The Medical Student newspaper April 2011