Whenever I or anyone else around me gets sick, I immediately transform into diagnostic mode. While I have no medical training whatsoever, I have watched many episodes of most medical shows on television, from M.A.S.H. through Trapper John and Doogie Howser up to today’s hits ER and Scrubs. I also read WebMD for pleasure and am able to retain what I read there pretty well. My friends in med school also provide me with hours of education, as I always end up asking for much more detail than they feel is truly necessary to tell an amusing story about general anatomy.
Because of this self-education, I consider myself equivalent to most village witch doctors or dentists of the wild west – both of which are considered medical professionals, or were so in their day. This self-perceived expertise serves as something of an annoyance to the medical professionals in my life, as I never feel satisfied without a thorough understanding of what is wrong with me at any given moment. I wonder whether my GP sees my name on the chart and says to himself “Oh Jesus not this guy again. Nurse, cancel all my appointments for the next hour, this may take a while”.
So imagine my surprise and delight when I ran across a website devoted to selling nothing but devices used to practice medical procedures! The company itself actually has a US version of the site, but it’s much more limited – probably because either the AMA restricts the use of non-actual people in med schools, or because grassroots advocates for dummies have successfully lobbied congress to ban elective surgeries on dummies and models*.
But the UK version is phenomenal, largely because of the variety of stuff they sell but also because the ad copy is so darn funny. Want to practice your rectal examinations (“Realistic sphincter tone”)? How about male catheterization (“Unique non-drip valve”)? Don’t forget everyone’s favorite – the pelvic exam (best line of all – “improved urethral opening – now with clitoris”)! But the most amazing example is the birthing trainer, which scared me a little bit – not just because it comes with a strangely elongated “birthing baby” but also a “birthing placenta” – all for only $3000+.
The thing that surprised me about all of this is that the birthing trainer isn’t available in the US store. Given how all OB/GYN’s seem to be paranoid about lawsuits these days, one would presume that these things would be flying off the shelves, both for med schools and CE classes. I’ll wager that because there’s plastic nudity involved, it’s considered “too racy” for the average American doctor-to-be.
Because heaven forbid doctors see genitals other than their own before actually working with a patient. Maybe after they get married.
* Except for botox, or nose and boob jobs so they can keep their husbands from gawking at younger, smoother dummies. Ever since Vince and Larry left their wives for Victoria’s Secret mannequins demand has soared.