Thursday, May 24, 2018

vintage scutmonkey: psych

OK, I think this is the last of this throwback series. It also happens to be the first "Scutmonkey" comic I wrote (even before "The Twelve Types of Med Students," even*), and I finished it about a month before I graduated from med school. It seems that the Wayback Machine doesn't archive every last image in a deep side branch of your main blog, which is why half the panels are kind of greyscale and janky (photos of a photocopy, you know). But hopefully it's all still legible.

Two small points. One is that I think it's not necessarily the kind of topic I'd write about so freely now, because, you know, mental health awareness is important and sensitive and all that. But for what it's worth, every single patient interaction or expressed delusion in this comic was absolutely true, almost to the word (if somewhat condensed in certain cases). Actually, all of it is true, right down to what people wore. (I was mesmerized by the chunky pendants and flowing tops my course director wore and therefore studied them in great depth before drawing them...badly.)

Second point. The building we used to refer to as the "old Psych Institute," shown in the first and last panel of the comic, is now the School of Public Health at Columbia. It's the exact same building--it even still reads "Psychiatric Institute" in the carved stone arch over the door--but, you know, they put up a new sign at eye level. So the one part of this comic that's not true is that I never went back. I am back, and the location seems like a tiny bit of poetic justice.

* Edited to add: I was wrong. I looked at the dates and I finished "The Twelve Types of Medical Students" 2 days before I finished this one. I had likely started this one first, though, because, you know, it took longer.


  1. It IS kind of depressing that the psychiatrists made fun of their patients on your rotation. I don’t remember that happening where I did my psych rotation, but it definitely happened on other services. I remember when I had my baby wondering about whether the obs were making fun of my inability to push because they did it all the time when I was a student on that service. That said, why do psychotic patients hear the tv talking to them and think they are Jesus Christ? It really is the #1 delusion.

    1. Interestingly, the content of delusions is influenced by culture. Psychotic patients that aren't American born have different delusional beliefs that are consistent with their cultures

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