The first time I partook in a baby’s resuscitation was during my fourth year of medical school. It was a disaster: the wall-suction malfunctioned, the nursing staff were in the precarious business of changing shifts, and all algorithms flew out of the window.
I vowed optimistically that when I was a doctor, I would not let a baby die that way.
I had a lot of criticisms, which is so easy for a student to do; but I did learn from it. I learned to prepare myself mentally for any scenario where a life may need to be saved, so that I could give that life a fighting chance.
Last night it was my turn. I was called to the ward for a desaturating baby with pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP). It was my call to start bag-mask ventilation, and then to start compressions when his heart rate dropped below 60.
Last night while on call I treated rubber bullet injuries.
I treated MANY rubber bullet injuries.
If you thought rubber bullets only cause bruising – well, you’d be wrong. They can penetrate. During my fourth year forensic pathology rotation, we did an autopsy on a man who died due to a rubber bullet embolism. Continue reading “On Call During A Riot”→
Medical memoirs are a dime a dozen, but I’ve never read a medic’s memoir and the title, “A Thousand Naked Strangers” is just too good to pass up.
A Thousand Naked Strangers is an Atlantan’s chronicle of the decade he worked as a paramedic in the city. I’ve never really known much about Atlanta, except for the stories my dad told of the month he worked there in 2000 – before Hazzard began his journey.
I stood transfixed, with my finger deep in the girl’s chest.
She was breathing easier now.
With every breath, I felt soft, spongy lung tissue expand against my finger.
How incredible is that, I thought. Perfect lungs doing their job. Almost ruined by the knife of a callous boyfriend.
I had been slow on the uptake with intercostal drains. Until Tuesday, one ICD from start to finish could take me 45 minutes. But Tuesday I was in a zone. My hands knew what to do, and they did it. I even remembered to side-step the spurt of blood as I breached the haemothorax.
They come in all shapes and sizes. Little and bigger. Some are freshly burnt, the raw and sloughing flesh tender; for others it is just one more in a long line of surgeries to restore structure and function.
The scarred flesh tells stories of multiple skin grafts. IV access is a nightmare.
Some of them are just babies. They come into the operating theater wrapped up like little mummies, barely able to flex their limbs. They give weak cries, drugged up on sedation and analgesia.
So on call in the ED recently, I had an experience that cause me a lot of turmoil. I feel the need to post a warning to this post: it pertains to religion, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. I will tolerate no Bible-bashing or ANY kind of bashing in the comments, but fair comment is most welcome (and sought).
So, it was night shift in the Trauma unit and it was insane. It had recently been pay-day, translating directly to loads of drunks, loads of MVAs, and loads of assaults. In addition to the many injuries (e.g. paediatric fractures) that occur during all times of the months.
Here is a little something different for Elective Extravaganza: what happens when you realise you chose the “wrong” thing for your elective? Aziza Aini (a fellow blogger, click on over) is a third year medical student in Malaysia who, during her second year, did an elective in Internal Medicine. Although she enjoyed it, she realised that she much preferred Emergency Medicine. So she innovatively did both.
Aziza’s story is also interesting because she attends a twinning program – essentially, her first two years of medical school is at one institution, and the last years are completed at a different institution. They do an elective in second year to assist with clinical skills development. I enjoyed her views because they remind me of the experiences our second years have when they get their first introduction to clinical medicine – the things they notice, and the things that make an impact on them. It is part of the reason I will always value introducing a student to hospital as early as possible.