In the Life of a Fickle Intern

October 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Filed under: Daily Lowdown — dailymedicine @ 21:38

As people prepared for Hurricane Sandy by gathering food and water and generators, I prepared by taking a prophylactic nap just in case I was called in overnight. With the roads closed and streets flooded, if you lived within a short distance from the hospital, there was a chance that you may be called in to work for those who lived further. Yesterday was actually my day off, one in between two sets of 4 shifts. We got an email earlier in the day asking who all was working and who all would be available if staff was needed. One of my friends who was scheduled to work last night and tonight was stranded in North Carolina and his shifts needed coverage. I actually offered to come in and cover, but because of scheduling, I would have gone over duty hours*. So luckily, I weathered the storm on the couch with my roommate.

It’s kind of weird because this is my first storm as a real health care provider. Instead of getting days off work, I anticipate working more. Instead of being safe and sound at home, there is a chance I actually have to drive to the hospital. It’s so strange to think that from now on, I could be an active participant during any emergency situation. Totally weird.

Now that things are settled and the worst of the storm has passed, I am heading off to work my string of nights shifts. I’m predicting that it’s either going to be a mad house in the ED with people affected by the storm or it’s going to be completely quiet. I’m not sure what I hope it’ll be. Wish me luck!

I hope everyone stayed safe and dry and that your electricity comes back on soon if it went out!

*As residents, we are technically not supposed to work more than 80 hours a week on average over the month.

October 8, 2012

Procedures

Filed under: Daily Lowdown — dailymedicine @ 17:15

We do a lot of procedures in the Emergency Room. From basic suturing (cuts and lacerations) to intubating (putting a tube down someone’s throat to breathe for them) to even delivering babies, we have exposure to a little of everything. As a resident, I love procedures! They make my shifts that much better because they’re interactive, fun, and just satifying. Though I am still learning and developing my own techniques, after 1.5 years in residency, I am pretty comfortable with our bread and butter procedures because we do them so often.

The other day I had two parents request that my attending do the lumbar puncture on their 5 week old child. Though they were nice about it, I was a little peeved. The only reason I picked up that chart was to get to do the procedure. In my head, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes and think, “Don’t come to a teaching hospital if you don’t want a resident!” but nonetheless, I was cordial. After my attending failed her attempt and another attending failed his attempt, though I felt bad for the baby, I couldn’t help but gloat internally for a moment at the parents. Chances are, I probably have done a lumbar puncture more recently than either of them because in a teaching institution, residents do all procedures.

This got me to thinking, which I try not to do too often. I always joked that if I got sick, I would never go to a teaching hospital. I wouldn’t want a resident, big-eyed and bushy-tailed, pointing and prodding at me. But after some more thinking, it seems counter initiative. After residency, you probably know everything that you will know. Even if you are an avid reader and stay on top of all the literature, for the rest of the life, you will still be practicing based on everything you learned during these formative years. Additionally, in a teaching facility, there is a wide safety network so chances are, medical errors will be caught. There are a lot of checks and balances in a teaching system.

So after all of this contemplation and googling to see where the majority of health errors occur, I have decided that I will just have to never get sick. That will prevent any problems in the future.

Though in all seriousness, I think teaching hospitals tend to be better for so many reasons. In addition to the ones that I’ve mentioned, teaching hospitals tend to be tertiary care centers with so many more resources, both people and technology wise. Other than delivering my baby, I think I am ok with having a resident be my primary doctor if I ever have to go to the hospital for anything. *Knock on wood.*

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