Friday, July 10, 2015, 2 : 05 pm

Present:  Dr Yumna Moosa (Intern in Anaesthetics at Addington Hospital), Dr Jonathan Fabian (Consultant Anaesthesiologist and Acting HOD Anaesthetics)

A discussion held at Dr Fabian’s request, immediately after a meeting with hospital management about Yumna’s logbook comments, where Dr Fabian had played the role of impartial, third-party mediator.

07min 48sec (split into two files)





Fabian: And if you don’t understand…  you know ignorance of the law is no excuse. It’s a standard legal principle.

Yumna:  Yes.

Fabian: So if you go ‘I’m sorry’, it’s not my problem. Not my problem. You must take the consequences. That’s why I say, ‘Act in haste, repent in leisure.’ Keep your mouth closed.

Yumna: So now I will.

Fabian: Yes. So now..

Yumna: Just…just communicating with my mom. Which I’m allowed to do.

Fabian: Yes, you can talk to her. But if you want my advice, and to get out of this, lose your book. Chuck it away, and miraculously a clean slate will appear.

Yumna: I hear you. I feel very complicated about doing that.

Fabian: Whether you do or whether you don’t, it’s not my problem.

Yumna: You just think that’s the main solution.

Fabian: Well I’m telling you it’s the solution. But if you don’t want to take it, then don’t get upset if you get smashed and arrested. You know you never, when you young, want to do something that’s going to impact on you for the next fifteen or twenty years. It will. This will. You’ll never get another job. When I say never get another job, you’re unlikely… Once this get’s out, this is what you….this is your conduct. You know you’ll never get another job.

Yumna: [01:10] But Dr Fabian, my conduct is explaining I felt uncomfortable with the behaviour of my senior.

Fabian: You welcome to. You welcome to. But what I’m trying to get across to you, you’re one out of 360, and if 359 have agreed with it, you’re stok, steen, aleen. And the departments… no department wants a person who is the… The Loner. So if everybody is happy with a certain setup, we all drink beer at lunch time, you wanna come say, ‘I don’t drink beer,’ ‘No fuck off. This department drinks beer at lunchtime. We don’t want you.’ You know whatever the decision, whatever the processes are, if you wanna be the loner, people will not want you in the department. So you entitled to your opinions, you’re entitled to your thing. I know that you fight the cause, but you’ve got to stop fighting the cause the whole time, because all it’s doing is its getting you into trouble, and all that’s happening is that as you’re getting older and older, the hole’s getting deeper and deeper and more and more treacherous.

Yumna:  [02:05] I hear you and I think in many ways you’re right…

Fabian: I’m right. Of course I’m right. I know…

Yumna: But its confusing because a lot of these things that happen, like, are problematic, it is problematic..

Fabian: Only to you.

Yumna: The fact that there’s a workplace that is…

Fabian: Only to you.

Yumna: …sexist is…

Fabian: Only to you.

Yumna: That’s not true Dr Fabian, it’s not.

Fabian: Yumma. I’m an old man in this game. Only to you under these… this circumstance. And nobody is one hundred percent happy at work. And just like I set you up and I said, how would you say, ‘I think you’re fantastic,’ you acknowledged that was sexual harassment. You could be taken to the cleaners for that. Completely. That’s inappropriate. No, you could have a complete sexual harassment charge laid against you. And found guilty. You’re out of a job. That’s what you’re not understanding. ‘Cause I asked you, I said… and then you said ‘Woah,’ now you’re realising what you’ve done. But realising what you’ve done after the event doesn’t preclude the event from occurring. You’re out of a job.

Yumna: [03:11] I hear you.

Fabian: So you can repent as much as you like at home. ‘Shit, I’m sorry Dr Maritz, I really didn’t mean it…’ Tough. Tough. You can mope at home. Because they will have got rid of you for sexual harassment.

Yumna: But I really feel that, if we’re talking about sexual harassment, on the scale of the things that are tolerated in that department…

Fabian: Grow up. Grow up.

Yumna: Why do you say ‘Grow up’?

Fabian: Because what I’m telling you is that on a scale of one to a hundred it’s a one out of a hundred.

Yumna: By comparison to the other things that have been happening?

Fabian: Ja. I’ve been in this game a long time. I’m telling you, grow up.

Yumna: Okay.

Fabian: Act like a doctor and you’ll be treated like one. Act like you’re a little spoiled brat and you’ll be treated like one. Grow up.

Yumna: [04:00] You feel like I’m behaving like a spoiled brat.

Fabian: Hundred percent. You said it, and I’m agreeing with you.

Yumna: Okay.

Fabian: My advice to you…

Yumna: I appreciate the conversation.

Fabian: Chuck that book away. Stand up and say, ‘An Act of God has occurred, and God works in mysterious and wonderful ways.’ And that your book has been lost. You’re applying for a new one, but having thought about it, that you’ve had a long chat and you’ve realised that maybe what you’ve said was inappropriate. And fortunately you can re-write the book.

Yumna: Okay.

Fabian: That’s what you do. But you get rid of the book, you don’t keep it to bring it out and be dishonest… be dishonest about the process. You know what I’m saying? Because then, I’ll be honest with you, I’ll have a go at you for lying, even if you do it.

Yumna: Gosh. Okay.

Fabian: Okay.

Yumna: Okay, I think we’re done.

Fabian: So you’re allowed one act of lying – your book got stolen. Do it twice and I’ll have a go at you. Okay?

Yumna: Okay.

Fabian: But seriously Yumma, you take my advice on this one. I mean, you don’t have to…

Yumna: I’ll consider it.

Fabian: You don’t have to. But then you get in your car, or you get a friend in Joburg, and you say, ‘Listen, my book’s been stolen, and please can you get all the consultants to fill in the dates and you sign it.’ Oh, it’ll take you a month or two, save you years and years of anguish.

Yumna: Thanks.

Fabian: Alright? But, but…



Fabian: the other thing is you don’t tell all and sundry that you lost your book. You keep that to yourself. So you go home and you say, ‘Shit, my book got stolen’. You don’t tell a single soul. Not a single, single…  not even your husband.

Yumna: That’s difficult.

Fabian: Well that’s life, hey.

Yumna: Ja, ja.

Fabian: Because once… Just close the door. Close the door. ‘Cause once you start to tell another person, you can never guarantee that it’s going to come out again at some other stage. Coz…

Yumna: Or maybe he loves me too much. Maybe that’s..

Fabian: Whatever you say… you cannot guarantee the future. So if you going to operate at this level… and sometimes you have… you grow up with these, like, pure and noble and, like, loving and kind thoughts about how you’re going to operate in your life, and sometimes you have to deviate from them to resolve a situation that’s way beyond your control, and you gonna be buffeted around like a fly… like a leaf in a typhoon. You not gonna know where you stand. And everybody you’ll come across will be against you. I promise you. You’ll never fit into a department ever, with any colleague ever again, unless you clamp down on this. And the other side of me is coming out to say to you that, if you were my daughter, this is what I’d advise you to do, to chuck that book away and start again. Because that’s your future in your hands and how you have to deal with it. And to go the noble cause of ‘I’m gonna fight for it’… naah fuck that. Seriously. That’s just for dreamers and Miss Goodies. You’re in the real world today. This is the real world. The real world’s harsh… and its gonna be… if it turns on you it can be seriously vindictive. And you don’t want that in your life. So you pray for an act of God that your book got stolen.

Yumna: Okay. Have a lovely weekend.

Fabian: Alright. Okay.