IOWA CITY, IA – It was a rough start to the year for first-year ophthalmology resident Tony Benage, who was recently caught trying to spell “ophthalmology,” the name of the specialty he intends to practice for the rest of his career.
“I knew I needed to get the spelling down right off the bat,” admitted Benage while sitting at his desk with numerous crumpled pieces of paper haphazardly strewn about his chair. “It’s humiliating to not know how to spell the title of your job.”
According to eyewitness accounts, Benage was furiously scribbling different spellings of “ophthalmology” with a large black Sharpie marker while intermittently muttering “No, no, no, that can’t be right” under his breath. His fellow residents came over to see if he was ok when they discovered Benage, tears streaming down his face with his hands and arms covered in black Sharpie marks. The paper he was writing on contained an embarrassing display of spelling errors, including:
“It was heartbreaking,” stated Lindsay Myers, a second-year ophthalmology resident. “We’ve all been there. I still get it wrong sometimes. It’s really easy to accidentally add in an extra 3 H’s and before you know it you are spelling “Ophthahlmohloghy.” We all have to practice trying to spell ‘ophthalmology,’ but for God’s sake, don’t do it in public.”
Most of the time, ophthalmology residents can get away with ophthalmology misspellings in consult notes due to the fact that 99% of non-ophthalmologists cannot spell “ophthalmology” correctly. However, residents are encouraged to learn how to spell the word prior to graduation, as the ophthalmology oral boards begins with a spelling bee consisting of only one word: ophthalmology. Records indicate only 50% of board-eligible ophthalmologists get it right.
At one point early in his spelling practice, Benage thought he spelled it correctly, but upon further investigation he had actually spelled “optometry.” At press time, Benage was reportedly seen in the library taking an entire ream of computer paper back to his desk.