Thursday, May 13, 2010

Who Raised A Stink

One of our surgeons has a new fellow working with him.  The fellow is a nice enough chap.  Friendly demeanor, knowledgeable, a competent doctor.  But boy does he have bad body odor.  I'll be charting during a case and suddenly smell a horrendous stink. Bad as in I-haven't-smelled-anything-like-this-since-high-school-locker-room-after-football-practice bad.  Malodorous as a European in August inside a crowded subway.  Disgusting as a four day deep sea fishing trip without a shower.   I look up and it would be him. Ugh.

When he first started working, I couldn't quite place the origin of the smell.  Initially I attributed it to a stinky patient.  Don't we doctors always associate bad characterizations to patients (poor attitudes, poor compliance, poor reimbursements)?  But then I noticed that I would only get a whiff of that stink when the fellow was around. 

He appeared to be well groomed.  He did enjoy sporting a 3 day old beard, which is common with young people these days (though I'm not sure what patients think about that).  I can't tell if his hair is deliberately greased down or whether he just has greasy hair.  His clothes are always clean and spotless.  But every time he walks into my room I have to start mouth breathing to keep from gagging.  It's worse than a poorly prepped colonoscopy.  Maybe not that bad but close.

I tried to bring this up with his attending.  I casually remarked that his fellow should probably take a bath every now and then.  He just laughed and didn't say anything.  Knowing the surgeon I think he would be too embarrassed to bring it up to the fellow.  Since I don't have the support of the attending the best I can do is hold my breath until this particularly fellow moves on to his next rotation.

I sure feel sorry for his patients though.  I couldn't imagine waking up every day to his odor hovering over my hospital bed. For the sake of his professional career I hope he gets some treatment for this.  And I hope he doesn't just try to cover it up with some strong cologne because that rarely works.  The mixture of cologne and B.O. is even more disgusting.

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