Doctor in the house

Professor Sir Stanley Clayton

Professor Sir Stanley Clayton

Dulwich Hospital, late 1974 or early 1975. Teaching ward round led by Professor Sir Stanley Clayton, author of celebrated Obstetrics and Gynaecology undergraduate text. I was not the most diligent of students, but I turned up for everything. Osmosis works.

SC: Tell me, Mr Monkhouse, what do you know of the aetiology of pre-eclampsia?
Me: silence
SC: Well, perhaps you can tell me about its treatment.
Me: silence
SC:  [we wore name badges] Mr Monkhouse, do you have a textbook?
Me: Yes, sir. Yours.
SC: Have you ever opened it?
Siemiginowski_Marie_Casimire_with_childrenCambridge, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, early summer 1975, ‘final’ Obstetrics viva voce examination

Mr Michael Brudenell (examiner): Why might this lady know more about her condition than most?
Me: because she’s a librarian.
MB: Oh, very good. And what advice will you give her about feeding her baby?
Me: Breast.
MB: Tell me why.
Me: Because breast is best. Cow’s milk is for cows, and human’s milk is for humans. There’s no better reason.
MB: Haw, haw, haw. Well I think that’ll do. Off you go.

I passed.

Bennett-Fracture-LCambridge,  Old Schools, early summer 1975, ‘final’ Surgery viva voce examination. I can’t remember who the examiners were, but there were three of them, all professors or Sir somebody or other.

Examiner: Good morning. Take a seat. Which College?
Me: Queens’.
Examiner: And which medical school?
Me: King’s [College Hospital Medical School, London].
Examiner: Haw, haw, a royal flush, eh?! Haw, haw.

After I’d picked myself up from rolling around on the floor in laughter, I was handed a radiograph of a wrist. There was a fracture of the base of the first metacarpal. God knows how I recognized it, but I did.

Me: Ah, a Bennett’s fracture.
Examiner: Very good. Pause. Tell me, who was Bennett?
Me, confidently: a nineteenth century Dublin surgeon.
Examiner, surprised: Oh. Pause. Quizzical look. Was he?
Me: I’ve no idea. I was guessing. There were so many nineteenth century Dublin surgeons, so the chances are good that he was.
Examiner: Haw, haw. Very good.

Ironic, in view of my subsequent history (there must be a God after all), but Bennett was a nineteenth century Dublin surgeon. And there were so many of them. I passed.

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