doctor712

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Another day another shadowing experience. Today I was observing a Cardiothoracic surgeon that I was introduced to over lunch last week. (hint hint, read: how to make contacts).

Anyway, the case was on a 77y/o who had severe cardiomyopathy with an ejection fraction of 15%. Really weak pumping LV, histories of heart attacks, calcified arteries, the whole nine yards. The case was going to be four artery bypasses. Beating heart surgery (i.e Off pump, no CP bypass).

Anyway, day started at 730 and I was in scrubs by 800am. So, there I am, only having seen one other heart case with a surgeon, the famed Dr. Oz who frequents Oprah now. My MD asked me, after the chest was opened, if I wanted to come closer to the surgical field and get a better view, OF COURSE! So I was given a surgical gown to wear over the scrubs, but I wasn't able to scrub in per se, just keep my arms under the gown, stood at the left shoulder of my MD.

Where does the OY come in to place? Well, wearing that sterile gown means you can't touch anything non sterile. And being an observer, everyone thinks you are a walking infectious disease magnet, so for all intents and purposes, you're in your spot for the long run. No strolling around the OR. Today's case ended at 3pm. That's 900am to 3pm, six hours, in EXACTLY ONE square foot of space. Unable to touch anything, just observe. OY is right. Man. The time flew but at the end of it I reminded myself of the STAMINA with a capital S these surgeons have!!!! Wow. I am so impressed. This was a long case. Lots of time harvesting a few veins from the chest and leg. Opening. Fixing any holes in the vessels that were harvested (who knew), attaching. Clamping off and suturing areas that were still bleeding. Repeat 3 to 4 times. It was truly amazing. The entire time, the heart is beating and anesthesia is maintaining stellar hemodynamics. Units of blood transfused, blood results back from lab and crit from machine in room. Watched something called SPY/SPI which is an injection into the heart, lights off, that lights up like a firefly under camera visualization. It's cooler than an angiogram, I wish I knew what this was called exactly (anyone?)

Anyway, it was a long AMAZING day. I wanted to keep my eye on the ball during pre-meds, well, it's on the ball today. Whew! ;) Same MD invited me back on Wed to see a pump case, Mitral Valve and CABG, off I go... :thumbup:

D712
 

dragonfly99

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Wow! I'm jealous. That sounds like a great experience.

Yes, those CT surgeons, trauma surgeons, abdominal and neurosurgeons are BEASTS. Stamina to the nth degree.
 

QofQuimica

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Glad you had a good experience. If you liked that, you ain't seen nothing yet! Your third year surgery rotation will involve standing in the OR for 8+ hours several days per week for 1-2 months, and sometimes being up all night on call afterward. It's an insane lifestyle, but being in the OR is awesome. Try to see a transplant surgery if you can; those are ridiculously long too, but cool as hell. I loved watching blood perfuse the organ at the end. :)
 
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wepio

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That is certainly a long time to stand in one spot for 6 hours. I too had the fortune of shadowing a CT surgeon. Mine was a CABG and lasted around 4-hours. Luckily, I was able to spend part of my time at the head of the table, behind the curtain with the anesthesiologist (they had a little step stool, which made it easy to peer over the curtain and have an awesome aerial view of the action). Other times, the surgeon let me stand behind him while he was seated so again, the view was unobstructed. But, much like you were stating, I was freaking terrified to move the entire time so imagine me bent over at a 45-deg and locked into position for 2-hours. Anways, open hearts are way cool to watch as they beat! I'm sure you were just thrilled the entire time. Good score!
 

doctor712

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Glad you had a good experience. If you liked that, you ain't seen nothing yet! Your third year surgery rotation will involve standing in the OR for 8+ hours several days per week for 1-2 months, and sometimes being up all night on call afterward. It's an insane lifestyle, but being in the OR is awesome. Try to see a transplant surgery if you can; those are ridiculously long too, but cool as hell. I loved watching blood perfuse the organ at the end. :)
hey! i did see a transplant once, lots of lead and i was pushed off to a corner. certainly not standing over the surgical field like today, but YEAH, i wanna i wanna i wanna see more. 3 months of today...wow. but at least i'll be DOING something, anything, suction. hehe.

rock on everyone,
D712
 

njbmd

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So much more fun when you are actually doing the surgery and the time flies by much faster. I love to operate. :D It's the most fun that you can have with your clothes ON.
 

Law2Doc

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If you liked that, you ain't seen nothing yet! Your third year surgery rotation will involve standing in the OR for 8+ hours several days per week for 1-2 months, and sometimes being up all night on call afterward.
Agreed. 6 hours isn't pushing the limits you will see in your surgery rotation (let alone if you go into that specialty). And while standing in place is rough, doing it while retracting something in an uncomfortable arm position and angle is worse, and is how you may spend most of your third year med school rotation. Sounds like you had a good experience, but I'd save the "oy"s for the exceptions, not the norms.
 

doctor712

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Agreed. 6 hours isn't pushing the limits you will see in your surgery rotation (let alone if you go into that specialty). And while standing in place is rough, doing it while retracting something in an uncomfortable arm position and angle is worse, and is how you may spend most of your third year med school rotation. Sounds like you had a good experience, but I'd save the "oy"s for the exceptions, not the norms.
True. And now I know what to expect...(and to expect the unexpected of course). Will withhold the "Oys" until further notice. :D
 

Tori's dad

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In my 1st year of med school I was fortunate enough to make friends with one of the general surgeons and our hospital and eventually schemed my way into a procedure. I was a ventral hernia that several other surgeons had refused to operate on. I understood why after the operation rounded its 8.5 hour mark. I retracted, cut knots, and suctioned bovie smoke and when I was done my back was killing me and for the next three days I couldn't think about anything besides ways to get back into the OR!!!
 

blee

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(A quick hello to people who were around when I was applying. Can ya tell I've been busy?)

My record for standing still in the OR was around 9 hrs. It was an orthopedic case, a 25ish dude with Scheuerman's Kyphosis. We essentially straightened his entire spine with a pair of rods. Unbelievable. The "best" part, though, was that we were all wearing lead vests because of the intraoperative imaging...and one of my shoulder straps was much tighter than the other. I walked around leaning to one side for most of the next day because I was too sore to do anything else. :p

I wrapped up my surgical quarter a little while ago, and I loved it. I think I'm going to become a surgeon.
 

error404

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12 hours. Depending on the nature of the med school you go to, or just the resident or attending you end up with, you may end up with a very hardcore experience.

Hardcore = 16 hour days minimum, no sitting unless the resident has already sat, no bathroom breaks, and thou shalt not scrub out, thou shalt not speak unless spoken to. No breakfast or lunch breaks, obviously, and your only food will be the granola bars in the pocket of your white coat.

Get really comfortable shoes.
 
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