A New Year’s Day On Call

I did it.

Exactly a year after I started working, I did one of probably the most difficult shifts an intern can get: New Year’s Day on the surgical service.


It was my roughest call ever. Rougher even than that one on obstetrics.

By this time, I am not quite as slow anymore. I can see patients quite quickly; I know the ropes. So to go a night without sleep now is a lot busier than back in January.

Usually our calls start fairly calmly, then get worse at night, and slow down at around 04h00 again. Not this time.

It was busy from the get-go. It felt as though for every one patient we got out of casualty, two more arrived. And most of our patients were drunk as a lord; which meant that most of them ended up being restrained.

And then there was that one man that managed to extricate himself from the bed despite being restrained. After that, we just put a mattress on the floor and had him sleep there, to prevent any injury.

Happily, only one person came to casualty unnecessarily – a “query appendicitis” that ended up being a simple cystitis.

It was really a horrid night – many MVAs, head injuries; having to counsel families that their relatives were brain dead.

Stab wounds galore – some people were stabbed such that we didn’t even have to make a single cut during their laparotomies.

The one benefit to the call was seeing how well a focused team can work together. It was so cool. We were a well-oiled machine. Nobody argued. We just WORKED.

But sleep? We each took a fifteen minute power-nap, and that was it.

What a night. What a night.

What a baptism by fire.


  1. drnjbmd says:

    I went into surgery for nights like this. I was on call Christmas and thrived. Congratulations on getting through the night into a new year. The best thing about being busy is that the night passes quickly and you have the opportunity to serve many people who need you. It’s simply the best feeling ever.

    1. barefootmegz says:

      That’s true – even though I worked hard, I left feeling so good because I had the opportunity to put my skills to the test properly, and to really be of use to people. But I did sleep for most of the next two days, soooo that was rough.

  2. KimS. says:

    Congrats on making it through the busy night… my New Years nightshift was filled with endless hours of hospital and laboratory information system (computer) downtime and then entering orders and results into the same systems when they came back up… So happy that our ER and OR weren’t filled with traumas! Happy New Year!

    p.s. waiting for your address to mail that bracelet to you!

  3. etudesque says:

    What a fantastic outlook on what others would call a rough night! Congratulations on ringing the New Year by helping others get through theirs!

    1. barefootmegz says:

      Aw, thank you ❤

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