To be honest, I didn’t like Harvey from the first time that I met him. Since managed to win the hand of my wife’s cousin Gabrielle, I actually expected to like him because I think she’s tops. And being chubby and short, he didn’t win her over with good looks. So I expected him to be a good guy. And he may be one, just not to his wife’s family. And the nature of the infractions are such that I don’t think he’s singling them out. He more or less exudes a greeting of, “Hi, I’m Dr Harvey Melancon. Glad to meet me, I’m sure.”

When he met my wife and she told him that she was going into rural family medicine, he basically responded that he fortunately didn’t need to do anything like that because he graduated in the top half of his medical school class. (Clancy graduated in the top third, for the record.)

When it was mentioned that Lain has a developmental delay, his response was to explain how the twins have met and exceeded every single developmental benchmark and how terrible he’d feel if he had a kid that was delayed.

Last year, Harvey was asked not to return to his medical residency. That… doesn’t happen often with family medicine residencies. It’s not as hard as flunking out of medical school, but it’s not something taken lightly. And if it happens to you, well you’re screwed.

He claims that he was not asked to return due to his principled opposition to birth control. Which… is not likely true. With perhaps some exception somewhere, there are protocols and requirements in place. Doctors do not need to dispense birth control if it’s against their beliefs, just as they do not need to perform abortions. They do, however, have to be willing to refer patients to someone who can fulfill that need. So you don’t have to do it, but you can’t turn anybody away, either. That’s the deal. Clancy bit her tongue so hard on that it figuratively bled.

Chances are he was booted for another reason. But as I say, if this happens to you… you’re screwed. It happened to someone in Clancy’s residency for reasons of utter incompetence. She never found another residency, and last Clancy heard works as a psychotherapist. Harvey, likewise, has had no luck whatsoever finding another residency. (Which is another indication that he’s not being on the up-and-up because if it was about birth control, there are residencies that would accommodate him.) Unlike Clancy’s former colleague, he was not dismissed mid-session. But no luck.

Which leaves me worried about Harvey, Gabrielle, and their three kids. Well, mostly Gabrielle and the kids. She is a physical therapist and therefore can bring in some money while he’s out of work. However, going to medical school is really expensive. My wife had a free ride for undergraduate and went in-state for medical school and still graduated six figures in debt. We’re able to pay it off because she’s earning a doctorly income. But it’s quite a bit of money. And the apparent (?) end of his medical career occurred after all that money had been spent.

I actually feel bad for him in part because I don’t think it was the birth control. I think he was just in over his head, like Clancy’s colleague, and I can more easily forgive falling short than the bullheadedness of failing to abide by the compromise laid out above. The system is pretty unforgiving about that. It’s hard to fail out of medical school, and starts getting easier to fail after the debt is accumulated and before you can really start paying it off.


Category: Hospital

About the Author

Will Truman (trumwill) is a southern transplant in the mountain east with an IT background who bides his time taking care of their daughter while his wife brings home the bacon. You will probably be relieved to know that he does not generally refer to himself in the third-person except when he's writing short bios on his web page.

12 Responses to A Medical Abortion

  1. Oscar Gordon says:

    In over his head as in book learning and lab work was easy, but the actual dealing with people and troubleshooting their issues was hard?

    • SFG says:

      Given that he managed to snooker Gabrielle into marrying him, I’d suspect it was more that he was a pure narcissist and wasn’t high enough up the ladder to get away with it. You can only behave like Donald Trump if your dad is Fred Trump. (sorry for politics)

  2. Vikram Bath says:

    I’m shocked that a medical school would admit a student who was unpleasant

    • Murali says:

      At least one problem is that students go through interview prep. People who are dispositionally unpleasant can fake pleasantry fairly convincingly for the interview.

      Interviewers try to mix things up by putting candidates in situations which they are unlikely to have prepared for. However, there is a limit to how fiendish interviews can be while still selecting for qualities relevant to practising medicine. That puts them at a disadvantage relative to interview prep programs (which may be run by high schools or independent agencies and which often get into contact with medical students who have successfully made it through their interview process.)

      Another thing is that competitive fields may tend to be populated by those who are more agressive, not because aggressive people are attracted to such professions, but because the competition a) chases the less aggressive away (a subtle distinction) and b) being an aggressive go getter makes you more likely to do whatever it takes to get a place in that field. It also turns out that being aggressive and ambitious is correlated with a number of unpleasant personality traits.

      • fillyjonk says:

        I’m a biology prof (who straddles disciplines within the field) and I admit “unpleasant” pre-meds – in the sense of being aggressive – are common enough to be a stereotype.

        I remember the guy who argued with me for fifteen minutes over a quarter of a point on a quiz. In a class where there were some 700 points possible to be earned. I showed him how his answer was wrong but he didn’t shut up until I told him he could keep arguing if he wanted but I wasn’t changing his grade and then I walked off and started working with other students in the class.

      • Clancy says:

        I’ll second the unpleasant personality traits — and even more so, the attitudes. I actually refused to join my university’s premed club for that among other reasons. Not a group of people I cared to associate myself with. Maybe it didn’t go over very well with my med school applications, I don’t know, but it’s a moot point for me now. While I was able to steer clear of a lot of that in undergrad, boy, there wasn’t any escaping it in med school. Even knowing intellectually that there are some people who perpetuate the bad stereotypes of med students and subsequently docs, it still caught me off guard. And in residency as well. And a real life.

  3. fillyjonk says:

    Harvey reminds me of an instructor I used to work with whose contract did not get renewed because of “collegiality” reasons. (In other words: this person was openly rude – like, extremely intentionally rude, not “could they be on the Asperger’s spectrum?” rude – to students and colleagues). Not QUITE Harvey’s problem, perhaps, but I do tend to feel people who put others around them ill-at-ease probably shouldn’t be working in a career where human contact is the big thing.

  4. kirk says:

    Sounds like my boss. Some people are just so obnoxious that they can’t be tolerated. (FWIW, I’ve been there 17 years and am thinking of just cleaning out my shit next week and walking out.)

  5. Aaron David says:

    I have an ex-girlfriend who… didn’t get tenure. And like Clancy had six figures of debt, even though she too had a free ride.

    She does marketing now, seems to work out for her. I have no idea why she didn’t get tenure.

    • SFG says:

      Didn’t publish enough, ticked off the department head, ticked off someone on her tenure committee, college had some diversity target and they already had enough women…there are probably others.

      Academia is a pretty crappy career unless you are truly brilliant. Of course a lot more people think they’re brilliant than actually are.

      • Aaron David says:

        Oh, I am all clear on how crappy academia is, with a whole family of profs going back 4 generations in CA alone. And I can take a few guesses at why she didn’t get tenure, but as we don’t communicate I don’t know for sure the exact reason. My main guess is that her field (critical theory) was no longer in vogue when she came up for tenure. As she did publish and had a good director when coming up, she knew the game pretty well and had no problem getting a tenure track offer when she first went to the MLA. And she was going to nail any diversity target as she was Palestinian.

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