Written by JESSICA SAWANG (edited by KATERINA THEOCHAROUS)

“I mean, I figured that because I never gave them my bank details I wouldn’t get roped into anything too bad. I only gave them my name, address, date of birth, signature, driver’s license number, fingerprints and a mouth swab – you know, the usual. It’s not much to hand over when you’re given something sick in exchange. Look at it, it’s glass!”

Kent Reed is a first-year medical student, and an attendee at the UNSW Medicine Orientation Day inaugurally covered by Jugular Reporting. When approached by a reporter, he was admiring the free water bottle given to him by a medical insurance company in exchange for his membership.  However, he admitted to not having read the fine print on the small pile of paperwork given along with the bottle, which was found crumpled up at the bottom of a matching canvas tote bag. Kent’s story is not an uncommon one, with 90% of first-year medical students reporting experiences such as finding random leaflets they don’t remember picking up and receiving monthly emails from strange organisations. This year, Jugular Reporting investigates.

Among the thick crowd gathered around the company booths, first-year Moe Knee could be seen juggling a multitude of water bottles, pens and USB fans in his arms. When asked if he had read over the fine print before signing for the freebies, Moe Knee said, “Yeah, but they only asked for the rights to my soul and my first-born child. It’s not like I’m going to be left with much of my soul after this six-year degree and my soul has no monetary value as it is, so I might as well profit off of it, right?”

When questioned about his lack of concern about handing over the rights to his child for a water bottle that could be bought for less than ten dollars at a retail store, Knee replied, “Well, it might not be very ethical to you, but look at it from my perspective. Taking away my first-born child would be a blessing. Children are loud, annoying and useless and they’re usually a mistake. Plus, childcare is so expensive… but you know what’s not expensive? A free water bottle. It’s useful and quiet too.” Knee then put on a pair of sunglasses and strolled purposefully back up to the insurance company’s spokesperson, appearing to try to nab yet another free water bottle under disguise.

Syne Hare, another first-year, was pointing a penlight in her own eyes when the Jugular team approached her.  She denied knowing exactly what organisation she had just signed up for but was eager to demonstrate the freebies they had provided  “No, but look at what they gave us! It’s literally a pen torch, it’s a pen that actually has a torch on the back of it, how cool is that?”

On investigation of her paperwork, Hare found, in small print, ‘if your liver is not handed over willingly, necessary force will be used’. “Oh, they only wanted my liver, no biggie. They can have it but really, it’s their loss. I don’t think my liver would even sell for five cents on the black market after all that post-HSC partying. At least they aren’t asking for a monthly fee – I’d really be panicking if they asked me for that.”

Professors interviewed regarding the contents of this report express concern, but not surprise. “Why do you think we have lectures on critical thinking in the Medical course?” Dr Romson said. “We realised fairly early just how little situational awareness the incoming medical students had.” Dr Borda agrees, stating that ethical opinions such as Moe Knee’s underpin several topics of UNSW Medical Ethics teaching and are best viewed through the consequentialist perspective.

On leaving the Expo, Jugular Reporting again encountered Kent Reed, this time squinting at an information pamphlet. “‘By signing these forms and accepting the complimentary water bottle, I have officially handed over the rights to my… soul? Please note that this contract is unable to be terminated under any circumstances.’ Oh no, what have I done.” Reed was last seen with his head buried in his hands and his pile of freebies lying abandoned at his feet. Anonymous sources claim he has transferred to Law, seeking to gain the experience and critical reading skills required to either find a loophole in his contract or sue the company that wrote it.

** Jugular Reporting would like to respond to allegations that Syne Hare’s free pen torch was deliberately broken by a reporter, who slapped it out of Hare’s hands after it was shone directly into the reporter’s eyes. Her abrupt reaction was due to photosensitivity, caused by her essentially living in the bowels of Wallace Wurth (Lower Ground). Profuse apologies are extended.

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