Sunday, August 13, 2006

Black Cloud

(Sorry that postings have been so sparse. I'll fit in more time)

Some say that I have a black cloud. They're wrong. I have a storm cloud following me.

Let me clarify. In the medical profession, (I don't know if this concept exists in other fields) if you attract all the worst, bad, complicated cases, or when you're on call everyone and their mother has to come to the hospital, then you have a black cloud. It's possible to have a white cloud. And sometimes the white cloud cancels out the black cloud.

Anyway, I think the origin of my black cloud was my first day of residency. To sum it up... out of the 2 patients I took care of that day, half of them did not live to see the next day. Not that I was responsible, but it was still traumatic nonetheless. I had patients die the first two times I was on call as an attending physician.

Friday night, this continued. When I came in during the afternoon, here's a partial list of what was left to start -- 3 liver transplants, a heart transplant, and 2 endovascular thoracoabdomical aortic aneurysm repairs in addition to a myriad of other smaller cases. Also on the table was a facial reconstruction that had been going 8 hours so far, an open thoracoabominal aortic aneurysm repair, and liver resection that had lost six liters of blood.

Needless to say I was up all night. Two liver transplants had been finished (I was not responsible for this) the heart transplant also (not me as well, yay) The thoracoabdominal aneurysm finished after 15 hours of work, the facial reconstruction had been going 24 hours with no end in sight, and another ENT reconstruction case had not only finished, but had gone back to the OR 3 times in addition because things didn't look well. At least I was working with good residents and colleagues. It makes things a bit more manageable.


Anonymous said...

Yeah. It can get kind of busy in those tertiary academic centers. I wonder if your chair really appreciates what your doing.

MDWannaB said...

I worked in the ER and it seemed that any day that I (with tremendous guilt, I might add) watched the show ER on TNT in the morning, we would have a horrifically busy day. I made the mistake of telling some of my co-workers and then I got asked by the first person that saw me what I was doing in the morning. (I worked afternoons.) :) :)