4 Aug 2011


Learning that I went back to the hospital 5 times for emergency endoscopies on a call day, my mentor said, “You have to see S the fortune teller.”

I frowned. Above all, I dislike that man. Besides, my religious and scientific background forbids me to seek such advice.

Let’s for the time being keep our cool. Was I really unlucky? To keep it simple, we will call me unlucky if my fate during the last call day could not be explained by chance alone.

According to figures from our center, endoscopists have to provide emergency service outside office hours around once every 3 days. By secondary school mathematics, the probability of having to do 2 emergency cases in 1 call day should equal 1/3 x 1/3, or 1/9. Similarly, the probability of going back 5 times is equal to 1/3 x 1/3 x 1/3 x 1/3 x 1/3, or 1/243. Since I am on call 4 times per month, I should expect to get 5 calls in a day once every 61 months (243 divided by 4). Instead of seeing this once every 5 years, this is the first time I encounter this since I started endoscopy training in 2003. I should consider myself lucky.

P.S. Lord, while I have nothing more to say about my call duties, would you keep an eye on my mother country? Those once-in-50-year disasters are happening every year there.

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