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How many of you have observed a surgery in the OR?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Apparition, Dec 13, 2005.

?

Watched surgery in the OR?

  1. Yes

    166 vote(s)
    81.4%
  2. No

    38 vote(s)
    18.6%
  1. Apparition

    Apparition 1K Member
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    Is this considered a standard pre-med experience? Am I at a disadvantage if I haven't done it? I was asked this at an interview and I'm afraid they might think that I don't know what I am getting into despite 1 year of volunteering in a hospital.
     
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  3. RayhanS1282

    RayhanS1282 perpetually percolated
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    When I was little, I saw a video of my uncle doing his surgery but didn't see anything in real life yet.
     
  4. gdbaby

    gdbaby Prettier than before
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    Haven't seen one in the OR, but have watched a few on OR-live and it's pretty cool.
     
  5. MollyMalone

    MollyMalone I'm a Score Quadruplet
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    I don't think it's considered standard; I know a lot of premeds who haven't had the opportunity. If you can find a way to do it though, it is a neat experience.
     
  6. -Goose-

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    shadowed a couple orthopods and worked in a surgical center for a summer -- literally saw hundreds of cases (all sorts)... had no interest in surgery beforehand (it was 'just a job') but now I'm thinkin surgery is for me.
     
  7. dr.z

    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    I haven't seen one yet.
     
  8. tacrum43

    tacrum43 Behold the mighty echidna
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    Well, I saw an ENT take out a little girl's tonsils. It was basically in an OR, although apparently you don't need a sterile field for tonsillectomies. I voted yes anyway. :)
     
  9. MarzMD

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    I saw one while shadowing a pediatric neurosurgeon. It was fun to watch. The girl had seizures, so they were putting in these platinum plates with wires on them all around her brain. This was so that later on they could induce seizures and see what part of the brain was affected.
     
  10. Orthodoc40

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    This is not a pre-requisite! I have had a unique chance to watch surgeries in the OR every week for 7 months now, but that is just because I have a wonderful mentor & a lot of interest. It is not a pre-req and doesn't put you at a disadvantage. Everyone comes to the table with a variety of experiences and opportunities.
     
  11. ShyRem

    ShyRem I need more coffee.
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    Required to do hours in the OR as part of EMTB and EMTP class years ago. Saw some really awesome stuff.. but the one that just made me cringe was a breast reduction. They're certainly not very gentle when they're hacking tissue out of those puppies.
     
  12. princessd3

    princessd3 Senior Member
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    I got to see a lot of heart-bypass procedures. It was an amazing experience.
     
  13. Risa

    Risa like Lisa with an R
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    Haha seriously. Even when they're just marking them, they were hefting them around by the nipples like woah. I couldn't help but feel like the surgeon would have been just a fraction more gentle if it was a scrotum he was hoisting around!
     
  14. laboholic

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    Pretty sure this was illegal, but I was watching a stomach biopsy and the doctor handed me the laparoscope (?) and told me to try it. I basically held the thing while he pushed my fingers to the right levers and stuff. Patient survived. :) Those things are really hard to operate. I imagine they take a lot of practice.
     
  15. Apparition

    Apparition 1K Member
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    How would I go about finding someone to let me watch? Would e-mailing surgeons at local hospital work. I love or-live.com but I really want to see the real thing.
     
  16. kimmcauliffe

    kimmcauliffe Surfer Chum
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    I was told to get in touch with general practicioners, family medicine, ect first. The hospital that I was trying to get into for shadowing didn't allow students in without signed paperwork from the school as well as a certain dollar amount for insurance.

    Luckily, I did work at a surgery office for about eight months and got to see some pretty cool stuff. I'd say just get in touch with the front desk girls first and see what they can do for you. In my experience, doctors LOVE to teach, so it shouldn't be that difficult at all. Best of luck to you!
     
  17. DrBowtie

    DrBowtie Final Countdown
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    The scope surgeries are cool until its your third shoulder in a row.
     
  18. RubRoss LSU

    RubRoss LSU Trumpet Extraordinare
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    I saw two hysterectomies (sp?) and genital warts surgery..... let me tell you the smell of burning flesh is not very pleasant....
     
  19. firebird69guy

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    First day in an OR internship at UCD medical center... saw a full blown open heart surgery..

    awesome!
     
  20. DrKitty

    DrKitty Senior Member
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    I've shadowed surgeons and have seen all kinds of fascinating surgeries: bariatric, brain, vascular surgeries... Amazing stuff I think it is becoming much more difficult to do, with all the HIPPA and patient privacy issues...
     
  21. dasta

    dasta Member
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    In high school I saw live open heart surgery at UCLA, watching the operation from an observation dome above the operating table. A few years ago, I assisted in vascular surgery at a free clinic in Mexico. After that, I volunteered as a lay health worker and medical assistant for 4 years at a free wound care clinic doing minor surgery with a mostly homeless and low income clientele.
     
  22. SailCrazy

    SailCrazy I gotta have more cowbell
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    I shadowed a general surgeon i day a week for 7 weeks this summer. It was definitely an interesting experience!
     
  23. TheMightyAngus

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    I shadowed Dr. Albert Starr of the Starr-Edwards heart valve and he got me interested in surgery. Watching him do a triple bypass was poetry in motion.
     
  24. drmota

    drmota 2K Member
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    shadowed a neurosurgeon and an ortho surgeon last summer. the first surgery i walked in on was a brain tumor removal, the surgeon was just slicing away at the guys brain. i kept asking "are you sure he doesn't NEED that?"
    -mota
     
  25. Its_MurDAH

    Its_MurDAH The DaVinci Savant
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    ff
    Speaking of illegal...

    well i don't think i am going to go into too much detail about what I was allowed to do in the OR...but let's just say that on many days I was "first-assist" to the attending.

    I got the surgery bug from the moment I held the 12 pound (each) polycystic kidneys in my hand.
     
  26. jammin06

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    definitely....and the smell is AWFUL.
     
  27. riceman04

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    During one summer (2003) I also shadowed orthopods ( :D ). I had to get to Ben Taub General or Methodist Hospital by 4:00am on Tues. and Thurs so that I would not miss the patient case discussions prior to going into the OR. Since there were like 8 residents that took a while. Surgeries normally started around 8am.

    I actually had the opportunity to choose a resident or attending to follow into the OR and then scrub up and sit or stand next to them while they were operating. At times they allowed me to cauterize and irrigate...and on my last day, I was left alone in the OR irrigating while the chief res. and charge nurse left to get the medicine balls. It was pretty weird being in there by myself!!! I had a great time that summer.

    Hey, did your doc ever play music in the OR during the surgery?
     
  28. Its_MurDAH

    Its_MurDAH The DaVinci Savant
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    my doc used to bump linkin park and puddle of mudd...
    and i mean f*ckin BUMP

    It's kinda sick but i think i started to enjoy the smell of burning flesh when that bovie dug into the layers of fat

    Did any of you guys' docs ever swear like it was part of his job while doing surgery? Also, the residents who were with him during surgery were never called by their names...they were either "sh!theads" or "morons". One resident was almost in tears cuz his hands were shaking when tying a knot...i had to do it cuz he was getting chewed out by my doc right there in front of everyone.
    Man, he could barely keep himself together.

    I am dreading residency like a muthaf*cka
     
  29. TSisk23

    TSisk23 ....
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    I watched many surgeries over a summer but the best was a kidney transplant in Denver. Definately a rewarding experience.
     
  30. newguy357

    newguy357 Senior Member
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    Uhh these poll results are going to be completely skewed because most people who haven't observed a surgery are going to pass over a thread about observing surgery, even if it is just a poll.
     
  31. popbirch

    popbirch Member
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    I was able to scrub and assist for 5 full days with two surgeons. I got to run the camera on a gall bladder removal, on the rest of the surgeries they would let me hold retractors and stuff. The coolest part though was when they would identify some stuff that I could tell what it was and let me feel it. It is a freakin cool thing to have your hands in someones body. I was thinking about doing oncology before I had that experience and now I am having a really hard time resisting surgery. The coolest thing about these guys lifestyle is that pretty much everyday they are guaranteed to be doing something different, they didn't seem to ever get bored or find things monotonous. Most the premeds I have talked have seen a surgery or two but most of them get stuck in a corner on a stool or something, I've done that too but it is way cool to participate in some way.
     
  32. Wahoos

    Wahoos Member
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    Surgery is pretty cool. :) A lot of pre meds including myself who sees a surgery or two in college wants to become a surgeon because it is really sweet to be called a surgeon. When I started out in medical school, most of my classmates in the 1st year class wanted to do surgery, but the actual amount of people in my 4th year that applied to surgery or a surgical sub speciality was about 20%. It is really fun to do the surgeries, but working 80-90 hours each week, getting up at 4:30am every morning to round on patients, and taking call every 3rd to 4th night for 5 years where you have to work around 30 hours streight (most of the time you will be up all night), and doing tons of paper work/documentation/getting critized by attendings or your chief,... plus having the responsibility of another person's life in your hands can be pretty stressful. Even though people say that as a resident, you will always have your senior resident or the attending backing you up, but I can tell you from experience that is not the case all the time and you can be put on the spot to make decisions that will ultimately affect the outcome of the patient. I have seen mistakes made in medcine all the time and fortunately, most of the mistakes are caught before harming the patients, but there are definitely things that gets past everyone. Plus watching surgery as a medical student is so much different than doing the surgery. So far in my residency, I have done quite a few cases with the attending as my 1st assist and I can tell you that even the simplist things can be very difficult, esp when your attending is breathing down your back.

    Being a surgeon has it's rewards and negative things, it is not as glamorous as you think but at the some time, it is very rewarding. Also it is "cool to be doing the surgery" but one of the surgeons that I worked with told me that "If you give me a monkey, I can teach him the skills to do the surgery, but what people don't understand is that the art of surgery is about indications and dealing with complications, more so than Operating in the OR ". It would take a few weeks to teach someone how to do a colectomy, but it takes a lifetime to learn when you should take a patient to the OR for a colectomy. The surgical indications are tough to learn, and it only comes from experience. There are clear cut cases, but the tough ones are the cases that are in the grey zone. Also it is fun when everything in the OR is going well, but imagin that you are operating on the hip, and you put a screw in the acetabulum into the anterior region, then you get this pulsatile stream of blood shooting through the screw hole, the Anes guy tells you that the pt's blood pressure just dropped to 60/0, and HR is in the 150s, you have a few minutes to decided what to do,... the blood is still shooting across the room... Then you are in a room telling this guy's wife, who has been married for the last 35 years, that you just [email protected]#ed up in the OR and put a routain screw into the external illiac artery, and you are very sorry, but the pt died on the table... Can you imagin if this happens to you? I am telling this story because it has happened. And things like this happen in medicine to even the best surgeons. Experiencing and dealing with complications is what makes you a great surgeon.

    Also to the previous post about the "platinum in the brain to induce seziures". I was in a few epileptic surgeries during my neurosurg rotation, what the Neuro surgeon is doing by inserting the electrodes, is that those strips are placed into the brain, the positions are maped, the patients is then monitored in the ICU with the electrode hooked up on to a machine that records all the events. When the pt have a sz, the wave pattern changes, and certain electrodes maps the sz activity. Then the surgeon looks at where the sz occurs in relation to the electrode, thus localizing the part of the brain that is causing the sz (sz activity can be either general or partial w/2nd generalization or just partial). A second surgery is performed to take out the part of the brain causing the sz events. It is called a lobectomy and most of the patients can tolerate it well. Before taking out a section of the brain, eletrodes are used to show the surgeon what part is resp for what function, and the important area, speech/motor/etc are spared. This is the simple ver of what that ped neurosurg was doing and this surgery is reserved for pts that have intractable amount of szs refractory to medical/conservative management. I had a pt that was having 30-40 szs per day and he had this done, now doing very well. Hope this helps.
     
  33. WhatUpDoc!

    WhatUpDoc! The Sign Says It All
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    Got to see an enucleation once, poor child had bilateral retinoblastoma, both eyes had to go :( One of the woes of working in a hospital dedicated to treating childhood cancers.
     
  34. themadchemist

    themadchemist Senior Member
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    When I volunteered for three weeks last summer in India as part of Unite for Sight, I must have seen over a dozen cataract surgeries, of different types, and I saw a LASIK surgery. It was great because the surgeons walked us through the procedures. I don't remember all the details now, but then, I could have probably explained a cataract surgery step by step, I'd seen them so many times. It was an AMAZING experience and one that I think is much harder to get in the US.
     
  35. 63768

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    i work for two orthopods and i see joint replacements, arthroscopies and ACL replacements each week.

    surgery is an awesome field to go into. once i saw my first surgery, i could not go back to strictly patient interaction.
     
  36. Zweihander

    Zweihander Billygoat Gruff
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    wahoos,

    I heard the EXACT same thing re: training monkeys from one of the surgeons I followed during my rotation. He believed that first and second year surgical residents should be learning medicine, not surgery, because a "real surgeon" knows how to deal with his patients OUTSIDE of the OR. :)
     
  37. riceman04

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    You are right about having things pointed out and you being able to recognize and touch them. Very diff. feeling from a cadaver that is cold and funky
     
  38. nekrogg

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    You guys inspired me to ask my doctor I was shadowing for if there are any OR observing opportunities avaliable. I was turned down saying there are regulations against it.. time to look elsewhere :p
     
  39. MarzMD

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    Yea, he explained all that to me, I was just too lazy to type it back on SDN...lol I like to keep my posts short and to the point. But like you said, watching a surgery is pretty "cool", but to be the one standing there for hours focused on the patient, Im not sure if it is for me.
     
  40. tommya7x

    tommya7x New Member

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    You wear scrubs and stand against the wall. You don't do much. Trust me I just finished watching CABGs once a week for two months. If you want a GOOD pre med experience, go scribe for a doctor.
     
  41. SailCrazy

    SailCrazy I gotta have more cowbell
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    I think it depends a lot on the surgeon and the hospital. I was at a small town non-teaching hospital (at least no residents, some PAs) with a cool physician. I was able to scrub in during my experience. I held some retractors & other instruments and was able to palpate a few organs and other anatomical features of medical interest.
     

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