Palpation for profit




He adjusts his glasses and gets closer to the screen to watch the young man gripping her bare shoulder and slowly sliding his other hand up to her waist. Inches from his face, her breasts heave up and down. In a barely audible voice the young man croaks, “Try deeper and slower.”

She sighs, “I'm getting light headed.”

The young man wipes away sweat from his forehead and continues, “How does this feel? Does it hurt?”

“No,” she says, frigidly.

He removes his hands, smiles nervously, and says, “You can stop breathing deeply now. Your spleen feels fine.”

The man watching the screen removes his glasses, shakes his head, and scribbles, “spleen palpated on wrong side of the body.”

Next to him, more than a dozen doctors sit in front of computers lined up in neat rows, their hands cupping headphones like operators at a NASA command center. A ding is heard through the intercom followed by the announcement: “Students, your time has ended, please exit now."

Moments later, all the monitors display empty exam rooms and everyone prepares to start the process all over again.

This scenario plays itself out daily in medical schools across the globe. Actors willing to be prodded, poked, and groped by inexperienced, shaky hands are brought in to train medical students in simulated doctor-patient scenarios. 

I have been one of those actors, and that's not the only weird job I've had while waiting to be "discovered." I have also played a "pseudo intoxicated patron" in the evaluation of alcohol licensing systems, a "simulated criminal" in deescalation training for police departments, and even a "character witness" for law students practicing courtroom etiquette. Each job has left me with some hilarious, and at times tragic insights. Working with police departments in deescalation training as an actor is particularly rewarding because of the type of unfiltered access to police culture it has afforded me. Never before have I been more sympathetic to the institution or more disgusted by it's lapses. 

I love Snap Judgement and would love to contribute my stories to the show. Please contact me if you believe any element of what I have mentioned can be developed into something your listeners would want to hear. 

Efrain Villa

505-948-0095

 

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