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medicalstudent October 2012

The voice of London’s Medical Students

Charing Cross A&E Faces Closure How to survive FY1 Page 5

Get ready to RAG Page 6

Why Medics aren't twats Page 9

Image by Chetan Khatri

Consultation period ends, students still in dark about future of Charing Cross Katherine Bettany This week saw the end of the consultation period for NHS North West London’s controversial proposal to downgrade four out of nine Imperial Trust hospitals. The proposal, Shaping a Healthier Future, released earlier this year, detailed the options for the future of Imperial Trust (the frontrunner involving the closure of Charing Cross A&E, redirecting patients to the nearby Chelsea and Westminster, which would remain a ‘major’ hospital.) The plan has met with much opposition from both Hammersmith and Fulham Town Council, which recently commissioned the Rideout report, as well as from the local community. Imperial College School of Medicine (ICSM), has been notably ab-

sent from proceedings, with the medical school yet to be consulted by the Trust. Under the new proposal, if accepted, Charing Cross will be downgraded from a ‘major’ hosptial to a ‘local’ hospital. The Trust remains vague about the precise meaning of the downgrade, however it is understood that the A&E and specialist wards would go. At a meeting with Marcus Ginn, Cabinet Member for Community Care and Health, suspicions were raised about the true intentions behind the move to downgrade. According to Ginn, Charing Cross has been seen as the “poor cousin” of the Trust, and is a victim of “strategic underinvestment”. Despite Trust claims that the plans would serve to enhance patient care,

financial reasons being only secondary, speculations were made that it is only a matter of time before Charing Cross is divided up and sold, in order to reap a ‘payday’ for the financially vulnerable Trust. According to Sir Christopher Edwards, Chairman of Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust, Imperial has no appetite to run more than three hosptials, and cannot afford to do so. Greg Hands, MP for Chelsea and Fulham summarised: ‘the whole process is in danger of being driven by land values and the Trust’s ambitions instead of the best care for patients across West London’. Now that the official consultation period is over, the proposal is turned over to a Scrutiny Commitee, made up

of the North West London boroughs, who will then report to the Secretary of State. However, there is little doubt about the outcome - indeed Chelsea and Westminster, alleges Ginn, has already begun ‘measuring up the wallpaper and curtains’ in order to absorb the extra patient traffic once Charing Cross A&E is closed. In the official document detailing the council’s response, key flaws were identified. “The Council considers that there are several key flaws in the proposals. Broadly, these can be categorised as fundamental problems with the consultation process and methodology, failure to take account of current relative clinical outcomes, and a lack of due (cont’d on page 2)

Superhumans? Page 10

St Georges' epic row Page 15


October 2012


News Editor: Katherine Bettany


David Smith & Luke Turner ULU Medgroup Chairs Medical Students of London! It is an absolute pleasure for us to welcome you to this first fantastic issue of The Medical Student for the new academic year. We hope that those of you fortunate enough to have one had a great summer and are excited for the year ahead. We should probably start by introducing ourselves. We are this year’s Co-Chairs of United Hospitals (UH) Medgroup. ‘What is UH Medgroup?’ we hear you cry. Well, United Hospitals is the historical collective name of the London Medical Schools, and Medgroup is the respective committee of their five Students’ Unions. We meet monthly in order to share best practice and to work together on issues which affect students from all the separate schools. We also bring you events, such as 999, which we held

Purvi Patel on the October issue this year at the Ministry of Sound. As for who the two of us are personally, we were both Presidents of our Medical Schools in 2010-11 (Luke at St George’s and David at Imperial), and our bromance has blossomed since. We wish you all the best for the year ahead, especially those of you who are just starting out on this exciting journey. As this summer has shown, London is the capital of the world and we are sure that you won’t look back on the fantastic decision you made to study here (unless you’re at GKT, in which case...sorry). If you feel that there are important issues which we should be addressing on your behalf, then please get in touch by emailing


Andrew Smith BLSA President Hello all! Firstly, welcome to the first edition of The Medical Student of the new academic year! My name is Andrew Smith and I’m president of Barts and The London Students’ Association. It’s certainly been a busy time out in the City and East, as I’m sure it has been everywhere. For one, although it seems an age ago now, the London Olympics and Paralympics graced our lives. It was a fantastic experience being so close to the action, especially seeing as our hospitals were the designated hospitals of the games. Some might say this was purely based on geography but who knows!?! Freshers’ Fortnight has now been ticked off the list and we all look ahead to an exciting year. Not least the International MedSoc Conference

on the 27-28th October which BLSA are hosting. This will bring together MedSocs and students from around the world to discuss leadership and management in medicine and share best practice from their respective societies/unions/associations. Looking forward to a strong UH presence (especially for the black-tie dinner)! So I shall draw this little spiel to a close as I am running out of things to say; mainly because the number of columns and articles one has to write in this position is plentiful. All the best with the year ahead!


Mathew Owen SGUL President Last year was an outstanding year across the board for St. Georges with regards to extracurricular activities. Our Bhangra and Cheerleading teams both came home from national competitions with the weight of gold medals around their neck. Both our Men’s and Women’s rowing teams proved their superior ability by winning the UH bumps competition. Our Revue put in a performance head and shoulders above the rest on their way to claiming the UH revue crown for a second consecutive year (At this stage I feel a need to remind the RUMS troupe that it was meant to be a comedy show), along with countless other great in-house shows and performances to add to this. These extracurricular successes were welcomed as our institution’s performance last year left a little something to be desired


(29 little somethings to be exact!). So what now for this year? The beginning of the third week of term marks the end of our Fresher’s Fortnight, and what a couple of weeks it has been! A whole host of different events, dodgier dance moves then you can shake a stick at and one big sleep deprived union! A definite personal highlight from this year’s freshers was the epic day of LazerQuest covering the whole second floor of the uni! We’re talking full camo get-up, Rambo headgear and five different missions played by over 100 students across a day. Now with Fresher’s all done and dusted, it’s time to look forward to what promises to be another great year for George’s



ow that all the drama of this summer has died down, and London is left as grey as it began, we look to our students for colourful tidings. October has seen freshers across London initiated into student life, with all the chaos and drama associated with starting university – and a medical degree. Where there are freshers there will be scandal. Tales of ‘what happened last night’ soon become the norm, until national press spins them into stories of sex, drugs and drunken medics, provoking universities to discourage behaviour to which they had, until now, been turning a blind eye. Leaving aside the irrational ramblings of the ‘Daily Mail’, medical students are still doing what we do best (whatever that may be) and the Medical Student is here to tell you all about it: Our recent battles against BUCS and the national healthcare bill (or just Andrew Lansley) have left us full of enthusiasm, despite the disappointing results, and students are joining forces with local residents to take a

walk against the closure of teaching hospitals across West London. Elsewhere, there is hatred for philosophy students and a call for gay doctors to be accepted as they are, amongst various other articles of great interest. Closer to home, I am being periodically reminded how weird I am (because apparently, sometimes I forget) by my new staff comparing me to nocturnal birds of prey. On that note, I would like to welcome into the Medical Student family Katy Bettany, who has defected (sort of) from our Imperial rival; Alex Isted, an experienced journalist from South of the river; Rob Vaughan, a satirist surviving in Tooting; and Jen Mae Low, the woman keeping us out of the red. Change is a funny thing. We all complain about it, but none of us really want to be in exactly the same situation ten years down the road. Last year the newsroom atmosphere was a combination of ‘epic sax man’ and intellectual banter. This year, however, I feel like the exhausted mother of children that Just.Won’t.Stop.Fighting.

While some would be unappreciative of the ‘conversation’ in the newsroom this month, I always try to be grateful for any opportunity to learn about the human psyche. The things revealed in our newsroom (in between rocking out to Busted, and eating chilli from coffee cups) range from the interesting tid-bits (e.g. the anatomy of self-pleasure), to the mildly psychotic and absurdly sickening games played whilst inebriated in garages. Situations such as these make me feel better about the fact that I am never going to have children of my own

(cont’d from front page) regard for the impact on the people who live and work in Hammersmith & Fulham. The proposals are consequently seen as unsafe from the Council’s perspective.” Charing Cross is unlikely to be closed without a fight, not least from the Council. ‘Charing Cross is a major hospital’, says Ginn, ‘with a proud history, and it does a great job for its community. [...] the Trust would have a hard time convincing us’ that the closure of Charing Cross A&E would be in the best interests of the community'. Ginn highlighted that the redirection of emergency traffic to Chelsea and Westminster would ‘double blue light time for local residents', posing an obvious risk to patient care. Charing Cross is well positioned geographically, and has room to expand, unlike Chelsea and Westminster. In addition, the loss of the recently built world class HASU department at Charing Cross,

which cost approximately £25 million would be not only detrimental to patient care; but also financially illogical. Residents have also joined the call to arms, with opposition group Save Our Hospitals organising petitions, events and marches to raise the profile of the issue. Imperial College NHS Healthcare Trust has agreed with Imperial College London that they will formulate a joint response as an Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC). This will ensure that the feedback they give will include how the proposals will affect the ‘tripartite mission of vastly improving healthcare through service, education and research’ But what does this mean for students? Whatever the final decision of the Trust, Imperial will be losing several of its A&E deparments; presumably reducing training opportunities for final years on their A&E rotations.

Moreover, if Charing Cross Hospital is closed completely, as some suspect it will - including ICSM President Shiv Vohra, who asked ‘how long will a major hospital like Charing Cross last without an A&E department [...]’, ICSM will lose its main hospital, and site of its medical school. Rumours have been circulating about the possiblility of moving ICSM to St Mary's; however, more likely the medical school will be decentralised, with students sent further and further afield for training opportunities. Vohra, speaking to Imperial College Student Newspaper Felix commented: “At the moment students are in the dark as to what the proposals will mean for their future education, and would like to be kept in the loop about the planned changes and how it will affect them. Particularly in relation to the Charing Cross hospital, which is the hub of the medical school.”





Contact us by emailing or visit our website at www.

Editor-in-chief: Purvi Patel News editor: Katherine Bettany Features editor: Alexander Isted Comment editor: Robert Vaughn Doctors’ Mess editor: Rob Cleaver Treasurer: Jen Mae Low Culture: Kiranjeet Gill Sub-editor: Keerthini Muthuswamy Image editor: Chetan Khatri Illustrator: Elvin Chang Copy editor: Purvi Patel, Alexander Isted, Robert Vaughan, Kiranjeet Gill, Katherine Bettany, Chetan Khatri, Jen Mae Low


October 2012


News Freshers a Success


Gareth Chan RUMS Senior President

his month, hundreds of Freshers have descended upon our medical schools from all over the world, bringing with them enthusiasm, youth and an appetite for partying (partying that some of us here at The Medical Student feel far too old for; preferring instead to curl up in bed with a cup of tea). Since pictures say a thousand words, here are a few of our favourites from across London


Images by Yuan Chao Xua, Fraser Currie, Kristina Earle, Chetan Khatri, Jocelyn Heins

Here we go again, another year starts and the never-ending revolving door of officers continues to go round. We say a fond farewell to Neil, Anya, Neale, Kian, Demis, Rika and Yoav and welcome to the fold Dante, Dhriti, Mayank and Jack. However the blue print of RUMS’ ongoing success as being the best medical school on all fronts in London remains … our amazing freshers! The class of 2018 have truly excelled this

year: they’ve eaten their way through hundreds of pizza, guzzled their way through the finest beverages that Hampstead and RUMS can provide and the majority are still standing! But in true RUMS fashion those who fell by the wayside on their epic journey through Freshers’ Fortnight have picked themselves up and carried on. We have bred a new generation of medics who are firmly loyal to the RUMS crest and equally ambivalent to the juggernaut that is UCLU who seek to render RUMS medics another one of their grey clad monoclonal students. Success!

This is going to be another vintage year for RUMS. Freshers, now it’s your turn to go out and make RUMS proud!


Shiv Vohra ICSM President Hello! A huge welcome to all our freshers, and a very warm welcome back to everyone else! So we’re more than halfway through freshers’ fortnight. Your student loans are probably more than halfway depleted. Not exactly what thedoctor ordered. But nobody can deny that it’s been absolutely EPIC so far, thanks to the bags of enthusiasm of our freshers, as well as our incredible Ents team. We’ve done extremely well so far, selling out on our legendary freshers’ passports before term even started. Our newly refurbished Reynolds Bar played host to a packed out series of events during the first week of term, and is all set for the final few events of freshers’ fortnight. Last night we held our freshers’ ball at the very swanky Foundation Bar in Convent Garden, which went down like a house on

fire. However, I am now convinced that I have the ‘freshers flu’, lovely. Moving on to the business end of things, Imperial once again topped the table for the UK Foundation Programme scores (read: best medicalschool in the land). You don’t have to read between the lines to realise that, yet again, we beat GKT. Now that I have most likely succeeded in upsetting the insignificant minority of the readership, I wish you all the very best for the start of term and I look forward to seeing plenty of you at 999!


Faheem Ahmed & Dheeraj Khiatani KCLMSA Presidents

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It is with great pleasure and honour that we welcome you to the King’s College London Medical Students’ Association (KCLMSA). In previous years, SMEC has represented the academic interests of medical students whilst MedSoc has catered for social activities and student welfare. By merging, the MSA will encompass every aspect of medical student life by ensuring that our students’ academic, social and welfare needs are wholly represented. The first fruits of the merger have already appeared with arguably the most successful start to the year in our prestigious medical school’s history. Beginning with a glorious day out in the sunshine on Guy’s Quad filled with free food and freshers, not a single ticket was left unsold at our entire line up of events during Freshers’ Fortnight. Ranging from Rubik’s cubes to Hawaiian garlands, togas to pyjamas, we had every theme covered. To top it all off, we ended every fresher’s right of passage with a spectacular masquerade along the Thames. The launch of ‘MSA Mondays’ has

already seen unprecedented success, ensuring not a week goes by without intellectual nourishment for our inquisitive minds. The first seminar saw hundreds of FPAS-crazed final year students search for the meaning of post-graduate life and many more at the first ever staff-student feedback forum involving the Deans. We are excited to announce a new initiative generously supported by the Wellcome Trust to involve more students in medical research as well as our partnership with the Student Medical Leadership Association (SMLA) to host a series of lectures, workshops and conferences involving esteemed leaders of the healthcare world. For the latest information on news and events at GKT, visit our website ( find us on facebook ( and follow us on twitter (@KCL_MSA)..



October 2012


News Bringing Research to Life: Imperial Medics Join GOSH

Research in brief BL: Scientists are developing futuristic capsules based on nanocapsule technology, which can be used for more targeted drug delivery. Capsule shells can incorporate inorganic nanoparticles, for example magnets, that can be acted upon by forces outside the body, in effect creating a capsule that can be remotely controlled. The multifunctional capsule can be used to deliver active substances locally to specific areas, with the modular design meaning that it will be able to carry anything from catalysts, drugs and enzymes, to DNA, depending on it's ultimate function.

Rahima Halim Guest writer A group of 8 Imperial College students were lucky enough to be invited to mingle with London’s well-heeled last Wednesday, at the inaugural symposium for new charity, Bringing Research to Life (BRtL). BRtL is a subsidiary of Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) and will campaign to raise funds for Europe's first Birth Defects Research Centre at the UCL Institute of Child Health. By generating awareness on the crucial importance of advancing child health research, the charity hopes to develop a solid and ambitious foundation of research that will make a profound impact on paediatric disease. Held at the grand One Marylebone, moments from Regent’s Park, the free flow of canapés and drinks came only second to the true highlight of the evening: two inspiring talks by Lord Robert Winston and Professor Terence Stephenson. Both impassioned speakers highlighted how the centre’s unique ability to translate pioneering research into clinical practice is vital to being able to treat the rare and complex childhood illnesses that are often presented to clinicians at GOSH. They put into perspective how the future plainly lies in the hands of today’s children and thus how their good health would be of paramount importance.

Image by Neda Hasan With researchers as well as donators in attendance, the evening was a fantastic way to meet all those involved in the various steps of making the charity an impactful one. Equally new is the Imperial College division of BRtL. Formed over the summer by Neda Hasan, this new branch of MEDsin was set up from her longstanding interest in congenital disorders. Since its inception over the summer, she has since recruited a team equally as enthusiastic to start fundraising for this neglected field,

Loan interest rises to hit medical students hardest Katherine Bettany News Editor This summer, the Student Loans Company discretely announced that students who begin their university degrees after the 1st September 2012 will be forced to repay their loans with a record high interest rate of 6.6% for the duration of their degree. Pre-2012, the interest rate on loans has been set at the Retail Price Index (RPI) as of March the previous academic year (March 2012, 3.6%). Students with an existing loan this year, however, will be repaying interest of a much lower 1.5% due to the low interest rate cap. This has been the case for the last three years, and will continue to be so for as long as the Bank of England base rate stays at 0.5%. To make things clearer, if one were to take out a total loan of

GKT: Scientists have found that a growth factor naturally found in ageing muscle cells could potentially be targeted in order to combat ageing. FGF2 in excess is thought to overstimulate the pool of dormant stem cells found in muscles, prematurely depleting the supply, leaving none for repair and regeneration when necessary. Initial studies in mice, where an FGF2 inhibitor was administered, has yielded positive results, showing that it is possible to slow the decline in stem cell numbers.

£65,000 over the course of a medical degree, under the old scheme,

“Under the new scheme, assuming the interest rate doesn’t rise, students will be paying back approximately £150,000 in interest alone.” one would pay approximately £14,000 in interest over around 25 years. Under the new scheme, assuming that the interest rate doesn’t rise, students will be paying back approximately £150,000 in interest alone. Of course, in reality, the average London medical student will be taking out a loan from Student Loans Company with a much greater value, due to the increase in tuition fees. In light of these changes, we really have to question whether a medical degree will be affordable in future


comprising of Alexandra Abel, Rahimah Halim, Christopher Jones, Cecilia Mafe, Rachel Mahoney, Christie Noble and Ryan Tewari. With a common interest of wanting to be 'part of something that will make a difference beyond medical school', the committee hopes to 'spread the word about BRtL’s pioneering work and fundraise through as many fun events as possible and grow in the years to come'. Already having had a strong presence at the recent Fresher’s Fayre, a multitude of events, including pub quizzes, bake

sales, movie nights and concerts, are already being pencilled into the BRtL calendar. Furthermore, the society also provides support for any that may want to run their own event. By providing so many different paths through which students can get involved, we hope that the following year will be a fruitful one, raising what is hopefully an obscene amount of money and in doing so, improve the lives of children worldwide. For further information on how you can get involved, contact or


‘Perfect storm’ for erosion of high quality training, says head of BMA Katherine Bettany News Editor Newly elected head of the BMA Junior Doctors Committee, Dr Ben Molyneaux - a London General Practise Trainee - has spoken of his fears about medical education. Molyneaux replaces Dr Tom Dophin. Speaking after his election in September, he warned “The economic climate in the NHS coupled with major changes introduced by the Health and Social Care Act has created a perfect storm for the potential erosion of high quality medical training.” Molyneaux said that protecting the quality of training will be a key area for the year ahead. As a case in point, at an unnamed trust in the

South of England, some graduates had to complete two psychiatry rotations, because the Trust was short staffed. “Junior doctors should not be denied a rounded training programme which exposes them to a range of specialties.” Molyneaux went on to express fears that graduates might seek better opportunities abroad, with a BMA survey suggesting more medics than ever would consider this than ever before. This will be of particular poiniancy to Imperial medics, who are yet to hear the fate of their own Trust in lieu of proposals set out by North West Thames earlier this year. However, with four out of nine A&E departments destined to close, graduates who were hoping to stay within the Trust for training will be all too aware that acute training positions will be a scarce resource in the near future


RUMS: A new light based technique has been used to measure levels of the toxic protein that causes Huntington's disease. The protein, mutant hutingtin, gradually builds up in the blood of those affected. The test, called TR-FRET, uses pairs of antibodies that stick to huntingtin molecules to absorb and emit light of different colours. This enables very tiny amounts of huntingtin to be detected with great accuracy. This new method can be used to track disease progression, test drugs aimed at reducing levels of this protein, and to shed light on how the protein causes damage in the brain. SGUL: New research has shown that the administration of ciprofloxacin, an antibiotic commonly prescribed in hospitals, is a major contributor to the spread of MRSA in hospitals. Contrary to popular belief, they also found that increased infection prevention methods such as improved hygiene and hand washing did not cause a significant decrease in the incidence of MRSA. The team tracked MRSA infection over 10 years from 1999 to 2009 at St George’s Hospital, and found that rates fell significantly after the reduction in use of ciprofloxacin.


October 2012



Diary of an FY1 Anju Phoolchund’s top 10 tips to survive becoming an FY1


CSM Finals PACES 2012. Me: “I would manage this patient by firstly resuscitating using Airway, Breathing, Circulation, ensuring airway is patent, saturations are good, respiratory rate isn’t increased, I would do a respiratory exam, take bloods and get IV access and if necessary a blood gas, an ECG, evaluate GCS...” The examiner smiles, ticks a box, and I walk out of the building (supposedly) a qualified doctor.

“As keen as you might be at medical school, you never have the weight of responsibility for patients” Weekend surgical on call, 4pm Saturday. I haven’t eaten or drunk anything since 6.45 am.

Nurse: “Doctor, bed 30 is short of breath, wants to see you”. Me: “OK thanks, can you please repeat a set of obs and get an ECG, I will be there in a minute” Bleep goes off six times in quick succession as I frantically try to answer each call and write the jobs for my long list of patients for the weekend. Two more of those calls are for a very irregular heart rate six floors down and a patient with increasing abdominal pain three floors up who might have ischaemic bowel. There is no SHO never is during the day on weekends - and my registrar is busy in theatre. That was when I realised that for all the speeches that we learn off by heart for finals to demonstrate we are “safe”, when it comes to real life, things are quite different. Knowing that you need to do something doesn’t always equate to being

able to do it, or work out how to interpret it. Putting a patient on 15L of oxygen through a non re-breather mask doesn’t magically solve their breathlessness.

“Knowing that you need to do something doesn’t always equate to being able to do it, or work out how to interpret it” Real life ECGs are never clear cut (after 10 hours on call, I can only tell you if there is an MI, AF or obvious heart block). Getting IV access is never as easy as it sounds, and doing a femoral stab is far more stressful than it’s worth. The Saturday radiographer promises to do your chest Xray “as soon as I can”, which basically means Monday. Which leaves you feeling increasingly frustrated at how

unprepared you are for the real world. I do wonder quite often how, if at all, medical school could have prepared me better for the brutal transition of becoming an FY1. As keen as you might be at medical school, you never have the weight of responsibility for the patients. On the first Wednesday of August, that all changes and these beds on the ward become very much your problem. Being proactive is possibly the most useful thing I have learnt, and it took me six weeks to figure it out. Yes, the registrar wants a discharge summary writing machine, a phlebotomist and a secretary out of us, but no one tells you before the first Wednesday that you need to engage brain cells once in a while. So I was thinking, what are the top ten tips that I wish I’d been told before the first Wednesday? I realise that some of these seem very obvious when put onto paper, but all sense of that disappears when you are faced with your first sick patient at night.

“Being proactive is possibly the most useful thing I have learnt” 1. Patients on the theatre list for tomorrow need to have valid bloods and group & save, or at 8am the anaesthetist will refuse to put them under because the last clotting was a week ago, and the F1 is to be killed, slowly and painfully, for lost theatre time. No one cares if you only realise this after your shift that evening has ended. You need to check and bleed the patient. 2. When calling for a medical review, try to anticipate what investigations they might do, and order them e.g. for a respiratory review, at least the Image by Chetan Khatri blood gas, chest x-ray, decent respiratory exam and history written up in the

notes nicely. Especially if it’s a surgical patient, as the medics will come to you with a preconceived notion that surgical teams have no idea how to manage their patients’ medical issues. 3. Learn to become friendly with nurses. It’s not a case of they can help out or not; they run the wards. Plus they always have chocolate in their coffee room. 4. Pharmacists are vital to your prescribing abilities, especially in the early days where you barely know how to prescribe much more than paracetamol.

“Do learn to pick up subtle signs, even when they might not be necessary to pass OSCEs, because they actually do matter at 11pm on the ward!” 5. If a nurse approaches you about a sick patient, don’t panic. If they are about to decompensate, the nurse would be calling the crash team, not the FY1. 6. When you do have to review a patient, think it through, always! fully examine the patient, and come up with a plan, even if it only states “discuss with SHO/Reg”. 7. Do learn to pick up subtle signs, even if they might not necessary to pass OSCEs, because they actually do matter at 11pm on the ward! 8. Practise cannulation and venepuncture before graduating, because once a FY1, there is no way out, you need to get the blood yourself. 9. Learn to walk away from the job at the end of the day, if only for a few hours. Otherwise it will slowly invade your entire life, and it can be quite challenging to keep positive during a twelve day run of working. 10. And finally... no matter how rubbish you think your day has been, keep a smile on your face, because your patient has almost certainly had a worse day


Calendar of Events

BL Medgroup 999

15th October

GKT Medgroup 999

15th October

ICSM Medgroup 999

15th October

Volunteer Fair

'Science of Improvement' Seminar

The Fresher Play

'Cracking the F1 Application Code'

Halloween RAG Collect

The Fresher Concert

'Applying for an academic post'

Graduation Afterparty

Staff-Student Conference

'The Situational Judgement Test'

25th October

1st November

6rd November

18th Novermber

15th October

22nd October 29th October

8th November

Halfway Dinner

RUMS Medgroup 999

15th October

SGUL Medgroup 999

15th October

Quiz Knights

22nd October

18th October

23rd October

25th October

24th October

26th October

Halloween Bop

2nd November

Comedy Night

Halloween Disco

Dodgeball Tournament

8th November


October 2012



Features Editor: Alexander Isted

What is RAG? Alexander Isted Features Editor Over the coming year, medic freshers from all ends of the country will be summoned to fulfil their sacred duty to RAG. For the non-indoctrinated, RAG stands for Raising and Giving, and is a proud tradition that medical students have held dear for centuries

GKT - Andrew Baigley Taking the helm of RAG at Guy’s, King’s and St Thomas’ hospitals is no small challenge, but nevertheless as the 2013 president I’m determined to continue last year’s success and take it to new heights. This year, we’re committed to broadening the scope of RAG at GKT whilst retaining our ageold traditions such as RAG week. One thing we’re really focussing on is helping RAGgers to undertake challenges with the sponsorship raised going straight to our worthwhile charities - potential ideas include a Jailbreak,

Hi, I’m Charlie Humphries. I’m a final year student at UCL, doing a History degree. This year, I am President of the UCLU RAG Society, after having been Treasurer and Publicity Officer in previous years. RAG, (Raising and Giving) is the charity fundraising society at UCL. It is unique because unlike other volunteering societies RAG puts on lots of exciting, yet oneoff events throughout the year that students can get involved with! In the past, we have arranged events such as Jailbreak (a sponsorship hitchhike as far away from UCL in 36 hours that saw students last year reach as far afield as Alicante and Poland). Last year we also organised the first ever UCL Bungee Jump, which was held in the Quad. Over 80 students jumped for charity, raising over £8,000 for Great Ormond Street Hospital. During my year as President, working alongside my fantastic team, RAG will hopefully grow and develop such

and one which you, as the next generation of medical student first years, will soon embrace with open arms. RAG is essentially an effort to raise money for charity, with each school having several chosen causes, ranging from London based, such as the Great Ormond Street Hospital and London Air Ambulance, to projects based abroad, including Action for Children and Childreach International.

or a hitchhike race to Paris... Don’t be afraid though - we’ll not be removing any of the gin-loaded old-fashioned RAGging that we know and love. I’m also pleased to announce that, in addition to our continued support of the Evelina Children’s Hospital, Medicinema and Guy’s & St. Thomas’s Cancer Centre, this year we’ll also raise funds for the Crohn’s In Childhood Research Association. The reputation of RAG as a great university experience was cemented last year when we were awarded KCLSU Society of the Year 2012, and I hope to more than live up to that this year - I look forward to seeing all GKT readers at our coming events!

The bread and butter of student fundraising is the RAG-Raid; students are issued with buckets en-masse, don eye-catching attire and go out into London to part commuters from their cash. You will have to develop skills in coercion, persuasion and intimidation to fill your bucket. RAG week should be earmarked in the calendar from day one, as it is a time to put education on hold, boycott RAG is an integral part of the ICSM experience. Think outrageous, think magnanimous, think positively stupendous – ICSM RAG is all these things and so much more. At ICSM, tradition and RAG go hand in hand: for decades RAG has helped welcome bright-eyed medical students into the ICSM family and been quintessential in showing them the best six years of their lives. RAG encourages students to do things they’ve never done before and are not likely to do again, while at the same time raising astronomical amounts of money for a good cause. From frolicking around London to hitchhiking

events even further – with challenges abroad and big fundraising opportunities. Already we have organised a successful club event at Sway bar, but other events are coming up, such as LOST, Laser tag, Jailbreak and much more... I can’t wait to meet new enthusiastic students who want to get involved – bring on 2012-2013!

UCL - Charlie Humpries

QM - Aysel Kucuksu Hello, my name is Aysel Kucuksu and I’m a second year Law undergraduate whose first year was dominated by RAG. It was purely by chance that I got introduced to the whole RAG culture, and absolutely by

lectures and instead take part in the numerous events that your RAG committee has arranged. These vary from sponsored hospital bed pushes across the central London, to Jailbreak, Valentines auctions and bungee jumping. As with any medical school tradition, RAG acts as an annual platform for alcohol-fuelled nights at the student union. Each year the events get more adventurous and imaginative, out of the country, RAG has something for everyone and makes sure no one gets left out. Every year we work tirelessly for a medical charity, that helps improves medical care and training all around London, keeping the cause close to every medical student’s heart. We have events running all year round, which culminate in the big, bad RAG WEEK in February – attendance and excitement are absolutely mandatory. Here at ICSM RAG we work hard, play hard, and do not rest until our buckets runeth over.

ICSM - Shoalib Rizvi

choice that went on to do it and am doing it still. For those of you who might be unaware RAG stands for Raising and Giving and it's a society that does exactly that - trying to be as creative as possible in putting on fundraising activities for local charities. What is specific about QM's RAG is that we emphasise and aim at fundraising for local charities, as we want to have a local impact. The fact that we are located in one of the poorest regions of London only adds to our passion for RAGging as the money we raise has a huge impact on the small charities that receive it. RAG at QM is not as big as I would like it to be (yet). But that’s something I wıll focus my power on this year, as I strongly believe RAG is absolutely the best, most rewarding, most exciting and amazing society one can join at university. İf you don't believe me, perhaps you should ask all the people who attended our Itchy Feet event, the Date Auction and Jailbreak.

ultimately to get everyone motivated to get involved and to make their charities as much money as possible. RAG events are by no means confined to RAG week, with events dotted throughout the calendar. In charge of these are each medical school’s RAG committees, led by their respective presidents who will become familiar faces over the coming year


SGUL Dheemal Patel Amma Siriboe Natasha Lee Michael Lee Hello! We are Dheemal, Michael, Amma and Natasha and we are your kick ass RAG presidents for the upcoming academic year at St George's! This year we have lots of plans to make sure we make a mountain of money. We've already kickstarted the year with a raffle, the top prize being a personally signed guitar by The Killers and we plan to do many more! The countdown to RAG week has finally begun but fear no longer as RAG will be all year round including those epic two weeks (18th Feb - 3rd March). Some of our upcoming plans for the year include organising our RAG calendar (after all, freedom is when your bra is off), Movember with a St George's twist (a chance for all the females to get down and hairy aswell) and a Christmas auction! One of our aims is to make sure you have a joyfilled, amazing, epic, marvellous and banterlicious time at uni and raise money at the same time. What more could you want? So watch out for our events.... They are not to be missed! They will be insane. That's a wrap. Bada bing Bada boom!


October 2012



A Few Tips for Fresher Medics Alexander Isted Features Editor So it’s day one of medical school. The past couple of years have been spent jumping through hoops, padding out a personal statement, leaping to any opportunity to serve tea in a care home or keenly follow a consultant around the wards. You’ve persevered with the grade six in Cello and you captained the school hockey team. Not only that but you’ve been reminded repeatedly that receiving a B at any point in your education is tantamount to the end of days. You have clicked refresh on the UCAS page endlessly, and all of this ultimately to reward you with a place here in medical school. So go ahead and pat yourself on the back, the path to becoming a doctor is now in sight and the hard work is over… Well not quite. The Medical Student has compiled a few tips and observations to share, which should hopefully help you to keep a level head and to make the most out of the coming year.

1) You sign up to everything The first trip to the Fresher’s Fair is an exciting one, with every society, charity, club and team selling themselves to you. Everyone inevitably comes out having signed their name down for everything they had originally planned to, plus an additional dozen societies that you don’t fully understand why you joined, but you’re keen all the same. You leave the fair with your bag overflowing with leaflets and freebies - mostly highlighters, condoms

and Domino's vouchers. With the pace of the first few weeks of med school, it’s easy to go to the first session but then end up neglecting the societies you sign up to. But when the work piles up later in the year, it turns out that the rugby training session, origami-soc meeting or orchestra practice can be a good way to escape from medicine for a while and to keep meeting new, interesting people.

2) Everyone stresses about the first test After a few weeks of lectures, everyone is in the swing of things and starting to get relaxed, until the date of the first test in announced. Regardless of how tiny a fraction of a percent the test is actually worth, the year starts a revision frenzy only to find in hindsight that the difference between scraping a pass and getting the top score in the year, isn’t all that much. Aim to pass everything nice and comfortably and save the extreme all-gunsblazing revision for when it counts.

3) You learn a lot and most of it seems pointless By the time you are stood outside the exam hall in Summer, everyone’s heads are filled with countless facts, values, names and diagrams and a vast amount of them will seem to have virtually no relevance to actually being a doctor. An intimate knowledge of the Krebs cycle, the complement cascade and a sizable amount of Latin may not seem to be the best way

of preparing for a career as a doctor but we need the basics… However annoying it seems at the time.

4) Be a part of the Medical School Medical schools are generally institutions steeped with history, tradition and prestige. Do your best to go to the bars that generations of your alumni went to, learn the drinking songs, find out which other medical schools you hate on principle and why. Be proud of your school and get stuck in.

5) Substance Misuse An entire year can be sat in a lecture on liver cirrhosis one moment, and the next be piling into the Union bar keen to drink to a near toxic blood alcohol level the next. Drinking is by no means a compulsory activity, but for its enthusiasts, medical school does offer a lot of opportunities. Just do your best not to be the poor soul suffering from a lethal hangover in a 9 o’clock dissection session. Equally, coffee and Pro-Plus could become your new best friends, as contrary to popular belief, lecturers’ words do not subliminally enter the sleeping mind.

6) Friends from home think that you're a doctor Over Christmas, when you get home you will be surrounded by people who seem to think that your previous two months at medical school Image courtesy of Alexander Isted have equipped you to perform open heart surgery, despite the fact that you’ve spent most of that time learning the names of enzymes. Aunts and Uncles will start quizzing you about their ailments and people will look to you for any and all first aid emergencies on nights out. While it might feel quite nice to get this new status, try to hold back from performing an emergency tracheotomy on any passing pedestrian, as much as you may want to.

7) In May, you move into the library

Image courtesy of Chetan Khatri

A strange panic sets in around May as everyone realises that despite attending most of the lectures, symposiums and workshops, no one remembers any of it and discovers that they need to teach themselves the whole course in a month. Shortly after this realisation the library becomes the hottest

destination in London, with the once barren wasteland filling to the rafters. Some people will inevitably take it to another level by quite literally moving in. Wheelie suitcases and pillows can be seen amongst the more extreme revisers but this is not to be encouraged.

8) It goes quickly A 5- or 6-year degree like medicine may seem inconceivably long at the offset, but a grim reality that any older medics or doctors will tell you is that it goes rapidly. One moment you are at the Fresher’s Fair in a foreign environment with people you’ve known for all of three days, the next you are sat white-knuckled in front of your computer waiting for the end of year exam results. This may be a slight exaggeration but first year without doubt goes quickly so make the most of it, as no subsequent year is quite the same



October 2012



Comment Editor: Robby Vaughan

Autumn brings the winds of change Robby Vaughan Comment Editor Well hello. My lord and master, Purvi Patel, may of already done so but allow me to introduce myself properly. I’m Robby Vaughan, and I’ll be taking over from the right honorable –and rather flaming- Rhys Davies as comment editor of this wonderful newspaper. I’ll remember Rhys as the poetic, efficient, and witty editor that he was; And at the same time, I hope that in the issues to come, I will be remembered as one thing: Lib-

eral. I’m profoundly not one for ‘You can’t say that!’ attitudes, and I’m all over controversy like a cheap suit.

"I hope that in the issues to come, I will be remembered as one thing: Liberal. I’m profoundly not one for ‘You can’t say that!’ attitudes, and I’m all over controversy like a cheap suit." This month in the comment sec-

tion, for example, we have articles surrounding why medical students aren't too gay, why they’re not twats, and why they should think twice before completely flaming hipsters. So please, read and enjoy comment, but remember that this section, and indeed paper, survive because of people like you writing your wonderful ideas and comments down. We distribute 5000 copies of this paper to the four great medical schools in the city (and also Kings?!), so seize the stage and get writing. From philosophy to geology, I’m interested. You write it, I’ll print it. Remember


I like my articles like I like my women: Brutal. I await your musings

"We distribute 5000 copies of this paper to the four great medical schools in the city (and also Kings?!), so seize the stage and get writing."

Gay, but not too gay Barts LGBT President dissects Dr Una Coales recent controversial comments Tom Swaine Guest Writer For those of you who haven’t read about Dr Una Coales’ comments in her recent publication, the whole affair can easily be summed up as a quintessential perfect minority rights scandal. Advising an ‘overtly gay’ candidate to ‘lower and deepen his high-pitched voice and neutralise his body movement’, alongside telling Nigerian and Asian trainees to downplay their ethnicities, in what equates to an official guide on how to pass GP OSCEs. It was never going to end well, was it? A lot of scrutiny has obviously fallen on Dr Coales herself, however deserving it may be. Fairness dictates that a larger share of that scrutiny should, really, be placed on the Royal College of General Practitioners, who have created an environment where a senior member sincerely believed candidates should take drastic action to ‘neutralise bias.’ But, another group is at fault here, and I reserve a final share of that scrutiny for that silent group. In the end, they might prove to be the most dangerous kind of homophobe. They are the kind of people who have no issue with gay people, ‘as long as the keep it in the bedroom.’ They are the kind of people who silently commended some of Dr Una Coales’ advice. The kind of people who wonder: ‘Why gay people couldn’t just not be so gay?’ After all, were those comments really that unreasonable? No-one would take me seriously if I marched - or, more appropriately - minced into a clinic, earrings glistening in the fluorescent light, and announced to my patient: ‘Hey, I’m Tom, I’ll be your Doctor today, and can I just say: Babe, you are looking fierce!’

News just in: Choice of tie is now to account for up to 60% of O.S.C.E. marks

Illustration by Elvin Chang

And you’d be right to laugh me out of the room in that scenario. Not only are patients entitled to a professional attitude and demeanour from their clinicians, and anyone who says ‘fierce’ is completely behind the times. But a professional does not equate to the white, overtly straight male that the RCGP seem to expect. The stereotypical ‘feminine energy’ gay men apparently exert can actually work wonders in a clinical setting, making the patient feel at ease, cared for and more trustful of their clinicians. On the other hand, sometimes a paternalistic traditional clinician is, pardon the pun, the best medicine. Being able to tone it down for a patient is, sometimes, a useful tool, no question about it. But it should never be a required tool, at least not to the extent Dr Una Coales inadvertently suggest. Telling someone they have to mask their personality, gender or ethnicity, only serves to ensure that on some level being gay, female or not white is incompatible with being a professional doctor. The kind of emotional pain and self-doubt that sentiment can inflict on a person is something no one should ever have to feel; it destroys lives. Not matter the best intentions behind it, all it does is ensure the intolerant status quo, and cater to the gay-bashing fanatics who think people like me are freaks of nature for ‘choosing’ to love a person of the same sex. In the end it simply amounts to this. You cannot legally or morally protect an orientation, gender or ethnicity from discrimination and not protect the behaviours and practices that some feel are intrinsic to that identity. You can’t ask me to confine my gayness to the bedroom. You can’t ask doctors to be gay, but not too gay



October 2012


Comment Why medics aren't twats Robby Vaughan Comment Editor Jake Wojotowicz of the London online newspaper ‘The Angle’ recently uploaded a lovely little pair of articles entitled ‘Why medics are twats’, and (in retort to the delicious backlash he received), ‘Why medics are still twats’. As it seems as though the perhaps unintentionally satirical ‘Angle’ had forgotten that it was not in fact ‘the only independent publication not restricted to a single campus or university’ in town, I get to share my two pence on the article with all you five medical schools personally. To begin, I’ll summarize his points with three choice quotes: ‘[Medics] supposedly specialize in healthcare, but spend half their life drinking, smoking, and shagging (unsafely).’ ‘Other [medics] will on to greater achievement than being struck off by the GMC for taking too much of an amateur interest in gynecology – or pediatrics.’ And finally: ‘See, I know that when I graduate with my philosophy degree and start my high-powered job as an alcoholic depressive doing parttime pizza delivery on the side, I’ll use

"[Medics] supposedly specialize in healthcare, but spend half their life drinking, smoking, and shagging (unsafely)." my training well and won't cock it up'. I’m sure you get the proverbial gist. The aforementioned backlash wasn’t pretty either, comments such as: ‘That’s right bro’ -in reply to me informing Wojotowicz of this very retort- ‘we’s gona HAMMER your thinking ass into your appendix, and we’re not even gona use local anaesthetic!’ were scathing and frequent. In his latter article he: queerly states that he has taken refuge in Poland until all this has died down, said that ‘I was poorly and tastelessly mocking a group of people for a cheap laugh [Yes! Yes I was!]’, and several other retracting statements. What then, has he really left me to say that he hasn’t already said in his apology? Some medics are indeed twats, Jake Wojtowicz, but whilst I found your article quite funny, like I find Malcolm Tucker, or Franky Boyle funny, I can see how and exactly why people may of taken quite some disliking

to you because of it. You implied that we are all promiscuous alcoholics ,now I may enjoy a pint or seven, but I can assure my sex life is as flaccid as a beached walrus. You implied that having the humilty to invest into a career and life 'cleaning out a fat guy’s arteries or digging two fingers into a tramp’s prostate' makes us ‘twats’, whereas sitting in an armchair all day sipping cups of peppermint tea, coming up with another pretentious and obsolete interpretation of Alice In Wonderland (or whatever) is somehow more worthwhile?

"Some medics are indeed twats, Jake Wojtowicz, but whilst I found your article quite funny like I find Malcolm Tucker, or Franky Boyle funny I can see how and exactly why people may of taken quite some disliking to you because of it." Well, one might begin to wonder how much rationality your four-hour timetable has withdrawn from your supposedly ‘complex’ mind. Dismissed


As is often the case, the minority let the majority down

Medicine’s voice of rational irrationality Ishaan Bhide Guest Writer The other day I was walking down Oxford Street and I saw what we now call a ‘scene person’. Now, I’m all for uniqueness but there’s a certain line that humanity recently seems to have crossed and for some irrational reason - and due to the bad day I was having - this particular person, through no fault of their own, annoyed me. It then dawned on me that I could moan about the state of humanity on this journalistic platform, rather than grinding my teeth and giving myself a stroke. Being a medic at George’s, I of course, live in London. London, whilst being a great city, has its faults; one of them is that it has a high prevelance of morons. I’d thought of a better word, but lets just settle on morons.

"Being a medic at George’s, I, of course, live in London. London, whilst being a great city, has its faults; one of them is that it has a high prevelance of morons."

Without someone with optimism towards us homo sapiens to play the devil's advocate for me, I see every faux pas made by my fellow humans as not only intentional, but part of an all-encompassing conspiracy to ruin our beloved world. It’s important that, as medical students, we look at every piece of information available before we arrive at a conclusion. This is what we’re taught. It’s a good way of doing things, and I realised that all my judgements of that hipster were premature and unethical, as I was judging him only on what I briefly saw of him. Even so, we all make them. Day in, day out we judge people, food, TV and everything that has the audacity to exist. A similar case was the 'Kony 2012' campaign earlier this year. I like everyone else, was swept up by the Kony campaign. ‘SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE’ was one of the things I remember screaming at my rabbit after watching that schmaltzy 30-minute guilt trip.

"It’s important that, as medical students, we look at every piece of information available before we arrive at a conclusion. This is what we're taught."

It seems to me that the 'Kony 2012' campaign was subject to major flaws, which were not all that apparent at the time of its, shall we say, broadcast. It has taken me this long to gather all the data I needed to make a decision on the matter, and present it as a satirical argument on the idea that we must ‘gather all the information’. ‘How are these invisible children being turned invisible?’ in other words, ‘why do these children reflect light with such competence that could make the Aston Martin in ‘Die Another Day’ blush with embarrassment?’ I can answer this. It’s because they are not only invisible but also odourless. The worldwide cosmetics and perfume industry currently generates an estimated annual turnover of $200 billion, according to recent figures available in your local search engine, of which 0.00000002% goes to charity. Therefore we can surmise that the worldwide cosmetics industry is not a non-profit organization, contrary to what some people, such as George Osborne, would have you believe. It has not escaped my attention that the same technology could, and most likely is, what Joseph Kony is using to evade capture i.e. by providing active-camouflage to his child soldiers. Let me conclude my argument: essentially if we stop buying cosmetics, it will reduce the demand for them

"I'm not, as my satire tried to imply, advocating that we shouldn’t use every bit of information available to us to make decisions. Undoubtedly, we should. One day lives will depend on it." hence, over some period of time, reducing its supply too, making it more and more expensive. This would also have the added bonus of letting men judge women for what they really look like and go for them based on their personality over looks. Eventually, as social Darwinism plays out, Joseph Kony will no longer be able to afford the technology to keep himself and his child army invisible, leading to his capture. Multiple birds meet my solitary killer stone here. See how things work out when you use every single bit of information available to you? It’s a work of art. Now, I’m not, as my satire tried to imply, advocating that we shouldn’t use every bit of information available to us to make decisions. Undoubtedly, we should. One day lives will depend on it. The message of this is that in order to live a healthy fulfilled life one should live it in moderation, even if it means cracking out absolute bol-

locks, rather similar to this article, every once in a while. But more importantly, don’t wait too long to make decisions just so you know ‘every single thing that you can’ about whatever it is you’re thinking about. Impulse is good. It's what makes us human and in the world as dictated by Google it’s becoming more and more important that we select optimum relevant infomation, rather than every single thing that is available before we come to a conclusion. Just a side note: if you are in-fact a believer in the Kony 2012 campaign, on no accounts stop believing it due to my rather biased and rather blindingly stupid views on the matter, made only to see the situation in lighter context. Just bear this fact in mind, Jason Russell, co-founder of non-profit Invisible Children and director of the ‘Kony 2012’ viral video campaign, and father of that rather endearingly adorable kid in the video, was arrested near the end of March this year for vandalising cars and public masturbation during daylight hours. In the words of the immortal Aaron Eckhart, more popularly known for his depiction of Harvey Dent: You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself get arrested for public masturbation. Now you have all the relevant information about the campaign. Has that just changed your perspective?



October 2012



Culture Editor: Kiranjeet Gill

SUPERHUMAN Maria Butt reviews the Wellcome Collection's exhibit on human improvement


he Superhuman exhibition at the Wellcome Collection takes us on a journey through humanity's efforts to improve, mend and push boundaries of what we are capable of. In a world that strives to be bigger, better and faster, the question of how far we are willing to go in our quest to improve ourselves is increasingly fitting. The exhibit begins with a figure of Icarus, a character in Greek mythology who attempted to fly with wings made of wax and feather, an age-old story of man's use of ingenuity to push beyond the limits of what we thought was possible. Next we see a series of historical artefacts of human enhancement, some that you might expect and others you may not quite have considered - a 300-year-old dildo, ludicrously high platform heels and a prosthetic nose, to name but a few. We often forget that many of our everyday items seek to enhance us as people - makeup, high heels, even our mobile phones. In contrast, we are then introduced to imaginings such as robotic parasites and a prosthetic arm that steals of its own accord, exploring our fears of becoming slaves to our own creations. Developed to alleviate morning sickness, the drug thalidomide was later discovered to have disastrous ef-

fects. Children of expectant mothers taking the drug were often born with malformation of the limbs, making it almost impossible to live a normal life. Although society sought to innovate many different prosthetics designed to help the victims of this tragedy, a touching video shows many who rejected these aids. The reality TV series 'The Swan', a beauty competition in which contestants undergo plastic surgery as part of their extreme makeover, inspired an almost haunting fictional display by Charlotte Jarvis. ‘I Need a Hero’ follows a man who is chosen to undergo a series of surgeries to make him superhuman. In a society which is always striving to excel, this powerful display asks us how much of ourselves we are willing to sacrifice to achieve this. One of the most striking video pieces in the exhibition 'Recorte por la Linea', shows a lady standing nude as a plastic surgeon draws on her the many areas he sees that could be improved. A line here, a line there; eventually her whole body is seemingly covered in surgical markings. This stark video performance highlights the sheer extent of what can be altered in our attempts to reach perfection leaving us to wonder just how far people will go to conform to society’s interpretation of beauty.

In contrast, artist Francesca Steele’s piece challenges conventional beauty by exploring the world of bodybuilding. A bodybuilder herself, she has immersed herself in this culture, pushing her body to the extreme as she investigates her own identity and questions sterotypes of beauty in women and the concepts of masculinity and femininity. Fritz Kahn’s poster ‘El Hombre Como Palacio Industrial’, takes the interpretation of the human body as a machine to a literal extreme, reducing blood and guts to nuts and bolts. Kahn not only blurs the line between man and machine, he removes it completely. This poster provides a strangely alien view to a usually familiar image, asking the question ‘what is it that makes us human and will we lose this as time and technology advance?’ The last piece in the exhibition is ‘The Immortal’. An amalgamation of various machines including an artificial heart, a dialysis machine and a ventilator; an emotionless, sterile representation of a ‘living’ organism. As you leave the exhibition you realise that while biological processes can be mimicked, they are not what define us as human beings. Is it how technically close we are to perfection that makes us superhuman or do we risk losing the very thing that defines us in the process?


El Hombre Como Palacia Industrial. Image credit - Wellcome Library, London

Organic Schmorganic Our food columnist Yin Yin Lee asks whether the foodie revolution is really a good thing


Cheap at three times the price? Image credit: Kiranjeet Gill

here has been an explosion in our interest in food in the last few years, with food and lifestyle shows dominating the television and food bloggers flooding the internet. This has piqued the nation’s interest in all things food related, be it buying, cooking or eating food. Whilst traditional cookery shows have focused on recipes and cooking, this new generation of food shows have begun to emphasise the ethics and ideals behind food production and farming methods. They have highlighted the differences between battery and organic farming and the environmental impact of food transportation, as well as other issues which have led to a gradual shift in our perception of food. The humble egg has evolved to become the product of a free range and pampered chicken. Tomatoes are no longer mass produced mutants influenced by chemical pesticides and cheese making is a respected artisanal art. And so the high street has evolved to reflect our attitude towards food, street

and farmers’ markets have surged in numbers and sales of organic and free range food has soared... So what’s the problem? Surely the fact that we’re eating more healthily, buying more ethically and are generally more aware of and intrigued by food is a good thing? And yes, it’s hard to argue against this but needless to say, it all comes at a price - and not just economically. There also seems to be huge social pressure on the consumer to buy organic, free range or fair trade, to actually care about the provenance of our food and to be appalled by any use of pesticides. Ultimately the increased effort and cost required to farm and make these products will and have been passed onto the buyer. Yet in the current economic climate is it really fair that this pressure is placed on the consumer? Should buying organic or free range produce be considered a luxury and not a necessity? I argue this point because the above may well be acceptable and doable for the rich and middle class but what about those at the lower

end of the socio-economic spectrum? Is it fair that they too are subjected to these pressures? There is already pressure on all of us to cook meals from scratch and abstain from processed and fast food and now there is this added onus on us to buy ethically. Spare a thought also for the farmer who is struggling to make ends meet, the farmer who must work in harsh and unfavourable conditions where chemical pesticides are required to maximise yield to that he can make a living. All in all, what is the point that I’m making here and is it one worth making at all? To be honest, I just wanted to fight for the other side and raise the fact that whilst all the arguments for buying organic food and championing ethical farming methods are valid and well worth fighting for, there are other reasons why people may choose not to adhere to these views. In an ideal world, it would be great if everyone could afford to make such noble choices but until that is the case, we cannot condemn those who don’t conform to the view of television



October 2012



Untouchable Shivali Patel Guest writer Despite being in French, Untouchable (Intouchables) is certainly an entertaining comedy filled with sharp, quick wit throughout. Based on a true story, the film skilfully conveys the importance of true friendship . The story is set in the beautiful outskirts of Paris and is based upon the unexpected friendship that forms between Philippe (François Cluzet), a quadriplegic billionaire and Driss (Omar Suy), a Muslim ex-con from the ghettos. The plot is cleverly written and begins with the comrades being chased by the cops for speeding. 'I bet you 100 euros I can shake them off,' Driss tells Philippe. When they are caught, Driss confidently doubles his bet with Philippe, convinced they will end up with a police escort. Driss claims the quadriplegic Philippe urgently needs to be driven to the emergency room, in order to get away with his speeding. Philippe pretends to have a stroke and tricks the police into escorting them to the hospital. The two men are ecstatic. As the police leave, the pair drive off. The rest of the film is shown as a flashback. The pair initially meet at a job inter-

view to recruit Philippe’s carer. Driss’ highest hopes are to receive a signature for attendance, so that he can continue receiving benefits. To his surprise, Driss’ lack of sympathy and brusque manner land him the job. However unlike most of Philippe’s previous carers, Driss is completely unaware of the debilitating impact quadriplegia has on Philippe’s life and is initially only there for convenience, since he has been kicked out of his own home. Still, Driss slowly learns, through the slightly nefarious means of experimenting with hot water and allowing Philippe to have a few bumps and falls that he lacks all sensation below his neck. Omar Suy shows the naiveness of Driss' character superbly and it is through this tender humour that he is able to bring life back to Philippe. Driss finds it hard to understand how Philippe can live the way that he does and tries to bring as much freedom back into the quadriplegic's life as he possibly can. He introduces Philippe to smoking joints and transports him in sports cars as an alternative to the wheelchair access car. Driss reminds him what Paris is like at night and helps him fall in love with someone who will appreciate him for who he truly is. So, while Philippe finally finds someone

who treats him as close to a normal person again and enables him to embrace life beyond his disability, Driss learns to appreciate the finer things in life modern art, opera, paragliding and attempts to master the upper class ways of living. He also gains a roof over his head and becomes a more caring, responsible person, realising that he has much more potential than he thinks. Overall, the directors Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano demonstrate in a refreshing way that love and true friendship can overcome all differences of class, race and circumstances. Cluzet and Suy portrayed their characters phenomenonally throughout, and the film is surprisingly good considering it is one that most will require subtitles for. I often find it can be terribly tedious to read words off a screen for two hours, especially if it’s not interesting, but this really felt effortless. The only downside of the film was the music. Most of it was well suited to the scenes but a little less sinister, classical music would’ve been more pleasing to me. Despite this minor critique, the film is one worth watching and is one of the few out there that is genuinely positive regarding the treatment of the disabled, so it will definitely leave you feeling uplifted


Mumford and Sons - Babel Rob Vaughan finds the much-loved band's new album rather lacking


hen Mumford’s debut album 'Sigh No More' rocked up in October 2009 it took me a while to pay it any attention. My friends liked it, but... A folk band? Boring, I thought. But after listening to just a few of their songs, I realized that Mumford And Sons were actually something very special. I immediately bought the whole album and put them straight on my 2010 Reading Festival ‘to see’ list, and was more than pleasantly surprised. The four pseudo-brothers standing there side by side, dressed in tweed and covered in sweat, billowing about God and love. The soul of the music was humble but strong; Marcus cried with joy at all of the listeners reciting ‘The Cave’ word for word. The rhythms were delicious and the hooks, crescendos and pauses sent them straight up there as one of my favourite bands. Songs like ‘Little Lion Man’ and ‘Winter Winds’ were all over my playlists, and they still are. Here we have magicians who have transformed what was before boring and drab music from a distant culture into something wild, bold, and relevant. Imagine my disappointment however, when their next trick, 'Babel',

amounted to pulling a now rather flaccid, fifteen track undernourished rabbit from a tired crumpled old hat. Every song that appears on 'Babel' could well appear on 'Sigh No More', and vice versa. There is no discernable difference in the style, instruments, key signature or even lyrics, to the point where one of the songs is actually the same song from 'Sigh No More', but with rearranged lyrics. Furthermore, most of the songs that appear on 'Babel' have been available as live versions on YouTube for months. Mumford are known for their epically long touring cycle, but it seems as thought they haven’t scheduled enough time to properly sit down and write another full bucolic album from scratch. Instead, they’ve assembled more of a heap of songs and Bsides and called it ‘album number two’.

However, don’t think that I dislike Mumford’s sound on this album. 'Whispers In The Dark' is a powerful 6.0 of soaring vocals and angst-less angst, and 'I Will Wait' has a powerful relentlessness to it, even if its central message is a bit general – and actually, I’ve found, not very good relationship advice at all. 'Lover of the Light' is an exception to my criticism, simply by virtue of its inclusion of a proper drum kit. Even with such a small change as this, the song sounds fresh, and I wish I wish the rest of the album could have been more like this. Many will ask, ‘if people enjoy it then what’s the problem?’, but please, how dull is that? I like bands that practice evolution and I love bands that practice revolution. Bowie and his personas, Coldplay and their artistic motifs, Linkin Park and their shedding of genres between albums, this is what Mumford should have done. It would have made them better than good. Now instead of being eager for their next work, I’m dreading its predictable monotony. I’ll enjoy Babel and its songs, but I can’t help but think because of it, the four boys feel just that bit less biblical, and just that bit more lazy


© 2011 - Gaumount/Quad

The Real Inspector Hound - ICSM Play Jack Bates Guest writer The new academic year has barely begun but ICSM Drama Society is already off to a flying start. Late last month, they performed Tom Stoppard’s 'The Real Inspector Hound' to a receptive audience in the recently refurbished Reynolds Bar. What’s more, they spent only a week between first read-through to the opening - and in fact only - night, in what they has been described as the society's first “one week play.” 'The Real Inspector Hound' revolves around a farcical play, and the two critics who have come to review it. Only half-interested in the play within the play, the critics instead ponder over their own personal problems. That is, until they are drawn into the play and the theatrical whodunit becomes a real life murder mystery. It is hard to summarise a play that seeks to entertain and confuse by turn. Tom Stoppard is enjoying a micro-renaissance at the moment, having written the screen-

plays for 'Parade’s End' and, on the silver screen, 'Anna Karenina'. Sadly lacking the fresh blood of freshers and the slightly more stale blood of younger years who were still on their summer holidays, the play was performed and produced with a cast composed largely of older years, for whom the threats of medicine and final exams might stymy their dramatic intentions in the coming year. However, they brought both experience and enthusiasm to the stage. Despite being newly renovated, the Reynolds Bar is not naturally suited for theatre but ICSM Drama tried hard with what they had. Hemmed in on two sides by the well-attended audience, the cast had a claustrophobically small stage to work with, and little in the way of backstage or lighting. However, the zeal and hard work of all those involved made the evening a success. Will this be the first of many “one week plays” by ICSM Drama and others? Only time will tell but after such a fun and entertaining evening, ICSM Drama would be remiss to pass up on the opportunity in the future



October 2012



ICSM Dominate at UH Tennis Edward Norman Guest Writer A great summer of sport drew nearer its close as the 125th UH Tennis season culminated in two great weekends of competitive tennis between St George’s and ICSM. Both medical schools, with a long history of success, were hoping to add to their record and take hold of the coveted UH Challenge Cup. The first weekend saw the UH Mixed Doubles Shield being played for at George’s home courts in Tooting Bec. The weather cleared magnificently and despite strong winds, both sides gave it their all in a tight affair. After the first round of matches George’s held the lead two rubbers to one. ICSM managed to turn the tide of the match however, in the following round when the much vaunted ICSM pairing of Norman and Willson toppled the pair of George’s, Clarke and Kirk. This set the stall for the other teams to up their game and ICSM went on to take the match 6-3. With the Men’s Final in the diary for the following weekend but with no confirmed teams having qualified, it was left to the final round

of matches to decide who would be competing for the oldest tennis trophy in the world, bar Wimbledon. ICSM and George’s managed to ensure the second face-off within a week despite the best efforts of Barts, who put in a great performance against ICSM, but unfortunately it was not enough to overhaul the lead the two finalists had built earlier in the summer.

"The rumbustious atmosphere was momentarily quelled by the tense nature of the initial match [...] which took well over an hour-and-a-half to finish." The final of the Men’s tournament was played at Teddington, amid much fanfare with the UH VIIs tournament taking place as well as ICSM’s infamous Sports Day. The rumbustious atmosphere was momentarily quelled by the tense nature of the initial match between Clarke and Saitch of George's and Hillier and Buell of ICSM which took well over an hour-and-a-half to finish. George’s prevailed and it left the score at the start of the sec-

ond round at 2-1 to ICSM, with the match very much in the balance. The pairing of Gunasekara and Simon however, took control and with an undefeated record going back for two years in UH helped ICSM secure the match and with it the trophy for another year. It now looks set that ICSM will maintain a dominant hand over the rest of the UH competition for the first time since the early 90s and return to the tradition of a strong medical school tennis side. The final event of the UH season, the AGM, will be held at Wimbledon with last year’s committee playing on the prestigious courts before the other members meet for a drinks reception and canapés. Next year’s committee will be decided and the trophies from the MPS Mixed Doubles Day, Mixed Doubles Shield and Men’s Challenge Cup will be presented. Medical school tennis hasn’t been as strong for years and if you would like to join it would be great to have more people involved next year. Hopefully in 12 months’ time we will be able to say that we have built on our successes and develop the traditions that have evolved with time


Photo by Simon Federer

Photo by Simon Federer


October 2012


Sport St Georges' Epic Row Ashley Tomlinson Guest Writer On a very fresh Thursday morning in mid-August, a wooden boat, thought to be over 40 years old, was lowered awkwardly into the River Thames. As it turns out, Lechlade in Gloucestershire was never really designed to allow for the easy boating of rowing boats and it was then that the eight rowers, two coxes and six support crew realised quite exactly what they had let themselves in for. 220 kilometres lay between them and Putney Bridge five days later, and so, with some trepidation the two crews set off on their journey. We had been planning the Epic Row, as it has come to be known, since January this year and it was incredible to finally be ready to start the trip. We had planned six hours of rowing a day, convenient stops, how to get around locks and easy routes for our support cyclists on the Thames path. If only it really was that easy. From the start, we encountered many problems that we hadn't anticipated. Firstly, we had to lift the boats out of the water in order to go through the locks -all 44 of them! Sec-

ondly, the river was much narrower than we had expected which cut our speed down tremendously. Combine these two factors together and our six hours turned into ten-and-a-half. Furthermore, the Thames path was very overgrown which meant that the support team could not easily assist us when required to. However, things improved and the days got easier. The distance we had to travel each day to make our rest stops went down and our speed increased. We still couldn’t manage less than six hours a day, but we were getting closer. Even though people were tired and sore, morale never seemed to dwindle and even in times of extreme pain, we all managed to keep going and pull through. I can only attribute this to two factors: the incredible food that our support team served up with only camping stoves to cook on, and the end-of-day swims surrounded by stunning scenery. When many of us think of the Thames, we imagine a polluted, uninviting river running through central London. Having now seen the entire length of it, I can say that the river is truly beautiful and that the views we enjoyed made the rowing so much easier. Finally, at approximately 6.15pm on

George's rowers celebrate at the end of their row Monday the 20th of August, the two boats passed under Putney Bridge and our journey had come to an end. We have now raised over £5,500 and would all like to say a big thank you to everyone who has donated or support-

ed us in any way. If you haven’t, there is still time to donate by visiting www. I would like to say a personal thanks to everyone who has made this amazing journey possible. Support Team: Patrick Dawson,

Alexa Dean, Canan Ozcan, Zoe Veary, Liv Jones, Natalia Anscomb. Coxes: Joanna Howell, Jamie Forrester. Rowers: Dean Ella, Joseph Bridgeman, Jake Moss, Sebastian Locke, Luke Turner, Joseph Wood, Mathew Hughes


Pre-season Lacrosse Success

Photo by Catherine Hedley

Lizzie Allen Guest Writer On Sunday the 7th of October, ICSM’s women's and men's lacrosse teams woke up bright and early to get to the Harlington sports centre for a preseason tournament, organised in conjunction with INTOLacrosse- part of the English Lacrosse Association. As a club we had held only two official training sessions before the event, and many were involved with the Fresh-

ers’ Sports Day, which was held at the same time. Nevertheless we managed to send out two extremely strong teams, which were also greatly improved by the presence of more than a few awesome players on exchange from the US. As usual the weather at Harlington was completely different to that at Hammersmith - having left the Reynolds bathed in sunshine, both minibuses arrived at Sipson Lane to be greeting by swirling fog. However the miserable weather at the start for the day did not seem to wither any player’s spirits, with

both teams overcoming their respective competitions to come out on top. The ladies team won each of their matches convincingly, beating Royal Holloway 6-0, Brighton 6-1, Kent 14-0 and CCCU 8-0. The event was our first time playing as a team, making it a great opportunity to put to work some of the set-plays that had been practiced in the training sessions. Needless to say the day was not a casual walk in the park – with only one substitute on the sideline, playing each match without a break was extremely tiring, especially

after a summer filled with everything but exercise. We were happy to rely on the three Americans during these times, who had clearly experienced much more rigorous lacrosse training back home and who did not seem to tire! The men had a similar success story, winning all of their games (Royal Holloway 11-0, Canterbury 6-0, Kent 1s 6-1 and Kent 2s 5-0) apart from a 1-1 draw against Brighton. They then went on to win the whole tournament on goal difference. Again, the presence of the exchange students was

certainly a boost, but the team worked hard and played well together. With so many talented new players, the competition for places on the men’s team is this year is sure to be extremely high. Being a pre-season tournament, the overall atmosphere of the day was pretty relaxed with most teams trialling their new fresher intake. The games were therefore perfect for getting back into the swing of things and having dominated the competition thus far, both teams are extremely excited for the upcoming season



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The Medical Student newspaper October 2012

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