Surgery – Day 1

We’re back to the early mornings. Yesterday our intern told my fellow medical student and I to show up at 6:00 AM at the hospital. Turns how it was his first day on the the service and first day working at this hospital as well, so the morning was a bit chaotic. The intern ran off without telling us much, and then the senior resident showed up and was like wtf. She took us to go round which was a very different experience from IM; walking rounds, but very brief visits with the patients. We finished in like 30 mins and then the resident was like ok go scrub into whatever surgeries are going on. And we were like uhhhh.

This was my first time actually working in this hospital and the scrub orientation/ OR tour we had yesterday was for the county hospital. After some running around with my classmate we eventually made it to our respective ORs. I got to go to a Whipple procedure, which I was pretty excited for. It’s basically a big plumbing job (like many surgeries). As technical and difficult and high-risk these procedures are the concepts are kinda basic, just take out what you need and make sure things are connected and stuff doesn’t leak out (obviously this is an oversimplification, you need to know what you are cutting and why).

This particular procedure is supposed to take 8+ hours. I was there for only for 4. It was amazing to watch the surgeons work. I feel like I often think about internal organs as so vital and almost delicate, but watching surgery proves otherwise. Sure the surgeons work with great care and precision, but at the same time things are flopping around, getting pushed and squeezed and cut and stitched and disconnected and reconnected and then later when the patient comes to they are still able to live as a functional human. Wild.

I will say as amazing as it is to watch, just watching does get a bit boring after a while. Though I can imagine actually doing the procedure being less so.

The surgical fellow straight-up told me that if there is something else I enjoy in medicine, do that and to avoid surgery if I can help it. After what I saw today I think that may be good advice. I can’t really imagine doing what these guys do into my 50s and 60s and not being an attending till I’m nearly 40.

Still looking forward to seeing more cool procedures though.


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