DOC-U-MENTALLY: The Film [Review]

Breaking this unintentional hiatus to tell you (read: shout from the rooftops) that I have watched Doc-u-mentally and

IT.

IS.

AMAZING!

Continue reading “DOC-U-MENTALLY: The Film [Review]”

Advertisements

Too Little, Too Late?

You might remember that we lost an intern colleague in South Africa a while ago, when she was in a fatal car accident after a long overnight shift. It was a big accident involving other vehicles, with at least two other people requiring ICU care.

One of them recently succumbed to her injuries, and the victim’s family members have made it known that they intend to sue* the Department of Health.

Most of my colleagues seem very happy with this. The government must be held responsible for the consequences of working their young doctors to exhaustion.

But part of me feels so very embittered. For years now we have asked nicely, and loudly, that our hours be addressed. Continue reading “Too Little, Too Late?”

The Nicest Interns: Part 1

It’s so easy to complain about my daily work. Annoying patients, a system that is falling apart a little more every day, and inconsiderate or lazy doctors and nurses  <– you see?

And then there are some of my colleagues who just really make me want to be a better person – and a better doctor.

One of our intern-colleagues is well-loved for being a bundle of fun and kindness. Whatever event our hospital’s social committee organises: he’s there, and he is their biggest promoter. He introduces people to each other, and he encourages them to get out of their shell.

animals-that-dont-suck-30-photos-9

Then there was that one time he walked around casualty on Easter Weekend dressed as the Easter Bunny, handing out goodies to all the interns on-call.

How nice is that?!?!?!

When he has a calm call-duty, he walks around and helps the services that are having a rougher time of it.

Written down, it may seem like he is the biggest gunner or kiss-ass. But he is just so genuine that it does not seem to get on anybody’s nerves (not even my very flammable ones).

I’m by far not a lazy or a mean intern, but when I see people like this guy, I just think: wow. I want to be like that when I grow up.

Something Only Family Physicians Experience

I had such a lovely experience last week. I was working Accident and Emergency overnight, as I have finally completed my surgical posting and moved on to Family Medicine.

A mother brought her nine-month old baby in with a chronic cough. Now, it was probably the happiest baby I had seen all night and probably could have just waited to go to the clinic the next day, but whatever: she was there, so I saw her.

In among the questions of TB, smoking relatives, and pets, I asked if Baby was born term, and how. Her response, “Yes, he was a big baby! You did my Caesarian Section!”

pediatrician-and-baby

Continue reading “Something Only Family Physicians Experience”

One Year On

Exactly one year ago, I started Internship. Hard to believe that the terrifying days just kept coming, until one day they weren’t so terrifying anymore.

Today marks the beginning of my second year of Internship, as the new interns arrive. I am excited for them, mostly. I also have quite a few friends coming!

I’ll be on call today on the surgical service. I anticipate a busy busy 24 hours; because with great celebration comes great trauma, unfortunately.

One year from now, if all goes well, I’ll be starting my community service year – in a different province, different hospital.

I don’t really know what to expect for the year ahead. To be honest, I haven’t even had time to make goals or plans. But I trust it will be a year of great learning and experiencing.

What a time to practise medicine, indeed.

A Sadder Stabbed Heart

433
By Redmer Hoekstra

When I got a call one morning at 06h00 to notify me of a stabbed heart in Trauma, I was not filled with trepidation like the last time I received such a call. I thought, “I’ve done this before. I know what to do.”

But I did also get the call while I was busy crushing an arresting person’s ribs, so it took me a while to get to him.

When I arrived in Trauma, the stabbed patient had also arrested. The Trauma docs were already doing compressions. We put in a chest drain. We got him back for a few minutes. I called to theatre, but they were already scrubbed on another emergency. Our hospital only has one emergency theatre after-hours.

As the most junior in the room, I ran to blood bank to get emergency blood.

While I was away, our patient coded again. The doctors and nurses in Trauma resuscitated, again. One of my seniors briefly scrubbed out of theatre to perform an emergency thoracotomy. Continue reading “A Sadder Stabbed Heart”

Being On Call Is Like Running A Marathon

… and none of that pseudo-philosophical “you have to pace yourself” bullshit.

I mean, I’ve never even run a marathon. But I’m training for one. My training plan was too ambitious though so I think I have shin splints (why does medical school not teach us about shin splints? Am I imaging them?) so combined with my grueling call of last night, I’ve had to forfeit my long run for this weekend.

Being on-call is like running a marathon (or a long run, or any run; depending on how fit I’m feeling) because:

Amazing digital portraits done by DanSun. Click image to be taken to his website. His portraits raise awareness of PTSD in first-responders and I think they are AMAZING.

Continue reading “Being On Call Is Like Running A Marathon”

Geeking Out About Lungs

Herds of Birds - click for link
Herds of Birds – click for link

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.

And because I was calm, I noticed the sensation of an expanding lung for the first time. Continue reading “Geeking Out About Lungs”