Will I become a prick too if I go into Gen Surg?

Discussion in 'Clinical Rotations' started by Aloha Kid, Mar 27, 2002.

  1. Aloha Kid

    Aloha Kid Senior Member

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    I'm really debating this one. I'm very interested in General Surgery but am disheartened at the number of pricks out there who call themselves surgeons? Does this happen to all Gen Surgery residents? Why? <img border="0" title="" alt="[Frown]" src="frown.gif" />
     
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  3. rad

    rad Member

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    the lifestyle, lack of respect, poor pay, loss of procedures to IR and subspecialists, to name a few. Yes, there is a high probabibility that you will become a prick
     
  4. I've wondered about why surgeons are pricks on many occasions. It's kind of like diabetes...is it genetic or environmental? Are surgeons pricks to begin with or does residency change them. I think the people who go into it are predisposed to be pricks. the programs bring it out of them. find me a humble surgeon, and i'll find you a pig that can fly.
     
  5. Acinetobacter

    Acinetobacter Junior Member

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    As a patient, I want an assertive and confident surgeon operating on me. I want the guy who is the best and knows it and tells you that he's the best. I'll leave the humility for my internist.
     
  6. Pilot Doc

    Pilot Doc SDN Angel
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    At least at UVa, many of the attendings are humble and amiable. I've been told that's unsusual, but it does happen.
     
  7. neutropeniaboy

    neutropeniaboy Blasted ENT Attending

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Aloha Kid:
    <strong>I'm really debating this one. I'm very interested in General Surgery but am disheartened at the number of pricks out there who call themselves surgeons? Does this happen to all Gen Surgery residents? Why? :(</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I believe it's some kind of displacement of aggression that they received when they went through their training.
     
  8. navs

    navs Member

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    Acinetobacter,

    I agree with u in part, but...

    1. Does being confident mean u have to be a prick as well??

    2. Do u want every gen. surgeon thinking he is the BEST even if he isn't??

    Good luck.
     
  9. Sabreman

    Sabreman Member

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    All I know is, after 8 weeks of surgery during third year, after being exposed day in and day out to obnoxious prick attendings and residents, after never having time to eat, study, or sleep enough but being expected to have memorized "Surgical Secrets", I too was ready to scream at nurses who hadn't added up the I/Os and were wasting my few precious pre-rounding minutes. I wanted to shove the needle driver down the throat of the scrub tech who called all the surgeons by their first names but pimped me (a tech!) constantly and pointed out any mistakes I made to the surgeons. I certainly didn't ever feel I had time to go talk to my patients after morning rounds. I think it is surgery itself that makes people pricks, although the current pricks propagate this. Detect any residual bitterness?
     
  10. Voxel

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    Non-prick surgeons are called pediatric surgeons. One of the nicest surgeons from the general surgeon pathway besides plastic surgeons.
     
  11. EidolonSix

    EidolonSix Member

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    You'd be amazed at how "nice" surgeons become when they get into the real world....where they are almost wholly dependent upon referrals from PCP's and specialists.

    As for the confidence issue...I have seen a confident surgeon maim a patient....confidently doing a procedure he shouldn't have been doing. (thoracoabdominal aneurysm repair in a middle aged lady, who had an aneurysm which didn't meet operative criteria).

    A good surgeon can be quietly confident, cautious, extremely competent....and always aware that surgery in itself is a morbid condition, which some patients will not recover.
     
  12. Neville Sarkari

    Neville Sarkari Junior Member

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    Most of the surgical residents and attendings I knew in training were arrogant. Every private surgeon I know in the real world is pleasant, helpful, and appreciative.

    Neville Sarkari
    IM Attending/Private Practice
     
  13. hosskp1

    hosskp1 Senior Member

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    I think there are some who try and live up to the stereotype of surgeons. I think these are becoming less and less. I want to be a surgeon and do a fellowship, but I know better than to raise my voice and yell at everyone. I think some were raised that way, I was not and can not convert now. I think like anything else, there is a spectrum some are nice and humble and some are malignat arrogant and cruel people. I might choose to go into a program where all my attending are like that , becasue it might help me learn-- work best under stress and pressure.
     
  14. carddr

    carddr Senior Member

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    :oops: :oops: :oops: I guess you'll have to call me...arrogant, obnoxious,aggressive, assertive, confident, pricky....but I don't think of surgery as being morbid, whether I think of something that is broken, and after my residency, I can fix it, and the pt can walk away all well again. Granted there may be some I can not bring back to life but I am going to darn well try to make them whole again. Morbid, no, healing, yes. Death is part of life. And not my call.

    "Look at me, I'm flying"!!!!said the humble surgeon.
     
  15. Acro Yali

    Acro Yali Senior Member

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    I think it depends on whether you decide to be a prick or not. I already know a few of these "pre-pricks" who are going into surgery. But, I also know of a few "non-pricks" who are also going into surgery (who are the minority, from my experience). Would they turn into pricks? I don't know....I hope not. But in the future, if some non-surgeon is is looking for someone to give their referrals, who do you think they are going to give them to? The biggest prick in town?
     
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  17. BeeGee

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    Surgeons are a very methodical and deliberate type of physician. They are highly ritualistic and believe strongly in complete ORDER. For a patient to allow a surgeon to operate on them requires complete trust and is an incredible responsibility placed upon that surgeon. This is not the time that the patient wants a surgeon to be lax or cool, to make jokes, or think up witty, cute, and funny things to say. These sick patients want the most highly skilled surgeon available to repair their ailment. No one can honestly say that a patient presenting to the ER with 10/10 RLQ pain + Nausea + Vomiting really gives a crap about getting the warmest, nicest, and fuzziest surgeon in the hospital to help them. They want the most capable SURGEON around. I am going to be more than honored to enter the Match for Surgery next year. So if being a PRICK encompasses being the best qualified for the job... I'll be that PRICK and believe me that your patients, your parents, or you would want that type of PRICK operating on them at 3:30am.
     
  18. dr.evil

    dr.evil Senior Member
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    I just don't agree with the assumptions that being a prick implies being the best surgeon or being a nice guy equals a poor surgeon. These are independent of each other and are definitely not interdependent.

    I have to admit that the grueling hours, malignant personalities you often train under, and high levels of pressure/stress can definitely give your personality a pretty strong hit. But how you deal with these things and the kind of person you truly are down deep inside are what type of person you are. Although the job envelopes you, it does not control who you are essentially.

    I know I will grow as an individual over the next 5 years, but hopefully I will keep a sense of who I am and respect those around me. And please don't confuse confidence with arrogance. It's definitely a thin line at times but confident people rarely tell you how good they are.

    BTW, the answer to the question is "no"
     
  19. njbmd

    njbmd Guest
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    Hi there,

    I spent a month on a General Surgery clerkship at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Not only are the General surgeons there nice, they are the best in the world at what they do. I never once heard a disparaging remark about other specialties or members of the healthcare team. Far from being abrupt and non-communicative, most attendings fully and thoroughly interacted with patients and answered all questions. They loved to teach and interact with residents and medical students. Being confident does not equate with arrogance. In general, the arrogant, rude and obnoxious physician of any specialty is usually the most insecure.

    If being a jerk is your way of dealing with stress and fatigue, then surgery is not going to be a good specialty for you. I have found most of the surgeons that I have encountered have been great teachers and excellent physicians who have enjoyed practicing their craft. I do think some of the horror stories that circulate around about surgeons and the "surgical personality" stem from selective memories. People tend to remember the few bad experiences and forget the good ones that far outnumber the bad. :cool:
     
  20. Acro Yali

    Acro Yali Senior Member

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    I also don't think "prickess" is a prerequisite for being a competent surgeon. By your line of reasoning, every surgeon will have to be a prick in order to call themselves really competent and every non-prick surgeon will automatically be incompetent. So, the more of a prick people are, the better a surgeon they are going to be?
     
  21. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    Are there pricks in Surgery? Sure.

    Were some of them pricks before entering Surgery? Sure.

    Did some of them become pricks while doing Surgery residency? Sure.

    I see no reason why one MUST become a prick by going into Surgery. IMHO the chance of becoming one depends on multiple factors:

    1) premorbid personality obviously
    2) age - older you are less likely you are to change during your training and possibly more in control of your emotions you are
    3) the "prickness" of those senior to you. If you are constantly being dumped on and humiliated, chances are you will return those sentiments/behaviors upon those junior to yourself.

    Stereotypes have it that women are more likely to become unpleasant to deal with during surgical residency. Whether its because women have to be tougher in the same situations or because it just attracts tougher gals, I don't know (or whether its having to do another full time job when you get home that does it).

    Have your friends keep tabs on you and your behaviors - trust a good friend to tell you if you're becoming a prick and do something about it. I know plenty of residents and Attending surgeons who are fabulous people - a couple of pricks here and there but for the most part these are people I enjoy workng with.
     
  22. Voxel

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    Unfortunately Kim, your program is probably the exception than the rule. From what I have seen, more than 50% of the surgeons in my academic world would probably qualify as one. That's an awefully high number. Also, I guess it doesn't help when you are on a radiology rotation interacting with gen surg residents and attendings and they figure out you want to be a radiologist (as a med student). They go from zero to prick faster than a radiologist's M5. :D
     
  23. megkudos

    megkudos Senior Member

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by BeeGee:
    <strong>Surgeons are a very methodical and deliberate type of physician. They are highly ritualistic and believe strongly in complete ORDER. For a patient to allow a surgeon to operate on them requires complete trust and is an incredible responsibility placed upon that surgeon. This is not the time that the patient wants a surgeon to be lax or cool, to make jokes, or think up witty, cute, and funny things to say. These sick patients want the most highly skilled surgeon available to repair their ailment. No one can honestly say that a patient presenting to the ER with 10/10 RLQ pain + Nausea + Vomiting really gives a crap about getting the warmest, nicest, and fuzziest surgeon in the hospital to help them. They want the most capable SURGEON around. I am going to be more than honored to enter the Match for Surgery next year. So if being a PRICK encompasses being the best qualified for the job... I'll be that PRICK and believe me that your patients, your parents, or you would want that type of PRICK operating on them at 3:30am.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Wow, have any of you guys ever wathced PATCH ADAMS? This quote is almost right from the movie...and for those of you who haven't seem it I'll summarize what Patch responds...

    "The funny thing is that you think you have to be a prick in order to get things done. And even more telling is that you think this is a NEW concept"

    In summary PRICK does not equal GREAT SURGEON, even if there are a lot of prick surgeons out there.
     
  24. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Voxel:
    <strong>Unfortunately Kim, your program is probably the exception than the rule. From what I have seen, more than 50% of the surgeons in my academic world would probably qualify as one. That's an awefully high number. Also, I guess it doesn't help when you are on a radiology rotation interacting with gen surg residents and rotations and they figure out you want to be a radiologist (as a med student). They go from zero to prick faster than a radiologist's M5. :D </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Perhaps you are right - then again, perhaps my definition of "prick" is more liberal than yours. I rotated at several other medical schools during my final year and only saw a few faculty whom I would define as one. Do I want to be friends and socialize with most of my faculty, probably not - doesn't mean I think they're pricks but just that I prefer a different sensibility and some outside interests.

    We give the students here a hard time if they aren't interested in surgery, but IMHO its all good natured, in fun type of stuff - I would be suprised if anyone took it personally or felt we were pricks or mean about it. Ya never know - maybe people think I'm a prickess! <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />
     
  25. Voxel

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    I'm not sure what you mean by good natured... But when general surgery attendings tell me: "You're wasting your life" or "you won't be a real doctor", I don't think this is good natured at all. This along with many inappropriate jokes made in the OR and throwing OR instruments at residents/med students is not good natured at all. I have rather thick skin so it's not really a problem. I happen to give everyone including general surgeons the benefit of the doubt when I meet them. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />

    Socializing with general surgeons? Let's not go there. Besides when do they have time to do that? :D

    Just remember radiologists are like elephants, they never forget. Your reputation as a surgeon depends not only your interaction with your fellow surgeons and patients, but other physicians as well, including that 3rd year med student that you once chewed out or threw a loaded needledriver at 10 years ago. :D
     
  26. JS-UNMC

    JS-UNMC Senior Member

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    Where are you people finding all of these "prick" surgeons??? I have worked with about 60 different surgeons in three different states and can honestly say that I have only meet one that I would classify as a "prick." I have personally meet more "pricks" in other specialties than in surgery. Maybe I'm living in an alternate universe or have been unusually lucky in who I have been able to work with. So, NO, you do not have to be a jerk to go into surgery.
     
  27. Justianna Artz

    Justianna Artz Junior Member

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Sabreman:
    <strong>All I know is, after 8 weeks of surgery during third year, after being exposed day in and day out to obnoxious prick attendings and residents, after never having time to eat, study, or sleep enough but being expected to have memorized "Surgical Secrets", I too was ready to scream at nurses who hadn't added up the I/Os and were wasting my few precious pre-rounding minutes. I wanted to shove the needle driver down the throat of the scrub tech who called all the surgeons by their first names but pimped me (a tech!) constantly and pointed out any mistakes I made to the surgeons. I certainly didn't ever feel I had time to go talk to my patients after morning rounds. I think it is surgery itself that makes people pricks, although the current pricks propagate this. Detect any residual bitterness?</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I admit that I've felt upset when tech's or PA's pimp me... but I'm not sure if my ego is getting in the way. Is it because I'm thinking "I'm going to be an MD, how dare a non-MD pimp me?" I don't think I care as much when an attending or resident pimps me. If it's my ego getting in the way, then that makes me really upset and I got to find a way to be a better, more mature person.
     
  28. Aloha Kid

    Aloha Kid Senior Member

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    jsdmu,

    You say that so far you have only met one surgeon who is a prick. Hypothetically speaking, what if the surgeons you have worked with are all pricks? Yet, you don't consider them as such because you yourself have become one? Pricks can't recognize other pricks becasue they're too busy getting along with each other.

    I don't mean to be offensive. Just offering a bit more food for thought.

    Shouldn't we reside on the safer side and really examine the situation to see whether or not we have become desensetized?
     
  29. jargon124

    jargon124 Senior Member

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Voxel:
    <strong>I'm not sure what you mean by good natured... But when general surgery attendings tell me: "You're wasting your life" or "you won't be a real doctor", I don't think this is good natured at all. This along with many inappropriate jokes made in the OR and throwing OR instruments at residents/med students is not good natured at all.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">What the hell? Throwing instruments? I can't believe that goes on. And these people are doctors - that's freaking amazing! I am just a lowly incoming med student, but I can tell you this - anyone throws a needle driver at me and I'll be in their face. :mad: :D
     
  30. Whisker Barrel Cortex

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    Ahhh, the wide eyed incoming med student view. Few surgeons these days through instruments, but if they did, trust me, you won't be in his face. These people can really screw your med school career!
     
  31. jargon124

    jargon124 Senior Member

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    Ok WBC, I probably wouldn't be in his/her face, but I'd like to THINK I'd be <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" /> .
     
  32. Aloha Kid

    Aloha Kid Senior Member

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    Jargon,

    I think you have every right to be in this guys face. Just make sure you have that family practice spot lined up and waiting for you.
     
  33. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Voxel:
    <strong>I'm not sure what you mean by good natured... But when general surgery attendings tell me: "You're wasting your life" or "you won't be a real doctor", I don't think this is good natured at all. This along with many inappropriate jokes made in the OR and throwing OR instruments at residents/med students is not good natured at all. I have rather thick skin so it's not really a problem. I happen to give everyone including general surgeons the benefit of the doubt when I meet them. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" /> </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I totally agree. The behavior you mention is rephrensible and inappropriate - regardless of specialty or level.

    By "good natured" I mean we'll laugh when students tell us they're interested in Peds and say things like "you like torturing children eh?" or "c'mon don't you think surgery's more interesting?" I have NEVER heard anyone of my fellow residents or attendings say in front of a student or resident that they were "wasting their life/degree" or making the wrong choice. I may not understand why someone would want to be a pediatrician but I respect their similar thoughts about Surgery. However, I am not so naive as to believe that everyone in this field behaves in a similar fashion. And I do believe that your reputation goes far beyond what your surgical colleagues feel about you - this is why I disagree with statements (such as one made earlier) that its "ok" to be a prick if you are talented. Unless I (as a patient) were totally isolated from medical care, there are enough talented surgeons around that it is *rarely* necessary to put up with a prick. For *most* surgeries, any average surgeon can handle them and I'd much rather have the nice guy than the arrogant SOB doing it. For complicated cases in which you really need a specialist who does tons of them, then I would be willing to sacrifice something in the way of personality for expertise. But again, we are talking special situations here.
     
  34. Voxel

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    I basically agree with your statement that there are plenty of general surgeons in my neck of the woods that my family, my friends, or I can go to both a competent and good natured general surgeon. I in fact did rotate with two surgeons who I have the utter most respect for. They are excellent technically and personally. I'd send people I know their way over any of the other jerks I met, who happen to be just as good surgeons. In fact I'd almost never refer anyone to the jerks I know, if there are other similiarly competent surgeons in the area. If there's one guy in town who has significantly lower mortality data for complex surgery like whipples for instance, he's a prick, and I still need the surgery I'd go to him. However, given the choice of similiar surgeon who is not a prick, I'd pick the non-prick in a heartbeat.

    While we are on these lines, the prick behavior mentioned above is not good for recruiting 3rd year medical students into general surgery. I'm sure that many will do general surgery anyway, but I also feel there are a few who were "on-the-borderline" between specialties and this may have been one of the factors that pushed them over the edge to another field. And a few across all medical schools adds up to quite a significant number of gen surgery applicatnts.
     
  35. Winged Scapula

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Voxel:
    <strong>
    While we are on these lines, the prick behavior mentioned above is not good for recruiting 3rd year medical students into general surgery. I'm sure that many will do general surgery anyway, but I also feel there are a few who were "on-the-borderline" between specialties and this may have been one of the factors that pushed them over the edge to another field. And a few across all medical schools adds up to quite a significant number of gen surgery applicatnts.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Yep - more agreement from me. In fact, I've had students here mention it as one reason they chose not to go into surgery. I had heard rumor that some programs are being told to be nicer to students for fear that it will drive them away from the field.

    Being pleasant to work with is one of the most important reasons students choose a field - by being arrogant and a prick it only serves to further drive people away from a field already in danger of losing its best and brightest who want a more normal homelife.
     
  36. EidolonSix

    EidolonSix Member

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    Birds of a feather flock together. A prick will likely be attracted by the mutual acceptance of other pricks...Most likely these people who happen to be surgeons and also pricks.....were likely pricks well before they became surgeons.
     
  37. acurarte

    acurarte Member

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    Don't prick me! I am going to be starting general surg residency in two months and would like to think I am rather prickless and unprickful. Hopefully they won't be pricking around me or maybe I might have to prick them back. Hmm is that how we become pricks? Wish me luck as I head into prickhood. May I encouter as few pricks as possible so that I may stay unpricked by the time I finish my prickful prick training. Maybe we should put general prickery instead of general surgery on our coats. Seriously I got quite a kick with all the prick talk on this string. So from one prick to another thanks aloha kid.
     
  38. Voxel

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    My point, exactly.
     
  39. Aloha Kid

    Aloha Kid Senior Member

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    My point exactly too fellow pricks.
     
  40. JS-UNMC

    JS-UNMC Senior Member

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    Aloha Kid, I am guilty as charged! Thanks?!
     
  41. joseph-arveson

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    [/qb][/QUOTE]I totally agree. The behavior you mention is rephrensible and inappropriate - regardless of specialty or level.

    And Criminal!

    JA
     

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