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Working at the hospital

Posted By John Scott on 03 Jul 2010
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Our first day at the hospital was a fairly dramatic start. After sorting out a few trainee badges for us, Neelofer Abbasi, our main organizer at the hospital, took us up to ER and literally 30 seconds after arriving there a woman was rushed in having a heart attack. It was immediately obvious who the head of the department was as we saw Dr Navneet walk swiftly over to the woman take a quick look at her and then start barking commands to all the staff around him. They instantly responded, each member of the team knowing their place, quickly wheeling her in to the emergency room and beginning to administer treatment in a manner which showed that they had dealt with this exact situation hundreds of times before.

From the first day till now, coming to the end of my time at the hospital I have seen and learnt a lot, too much to really write about so I'll just touch base on some of the best experiences I have had here.

Gap Year Intern

First of all the sheer fact that we are able to jump into just about any operating theatre at any time of day is astounding. All that needs be done is check the surgery board for anything that takes your interest and then ask the head of OT Doctor Uni. He will be generally accommodating unless there would be a serious issue with you being there. I have found the Ortho team here is the most incredible to hang around. They combine the usual surgical precision with big hammers, chisels, saws, nuts and bolts to repair and restructure bones and muscles. They will make what seems to be a random hit with a chisel to a bone and then spend 10 minutes making tiny adjustments. This allows after a very long time of hammering and cutting for them to fit in some kind of metal replacement to the area. The most interesting case I have seen by the ortho team was a runway engineer whose left leg had been run over by a plane. We saw him from when he first came in when his calf was totally de-gloved, the muscles were all over the place and the bone was broken and exposed. Over the 3 weeks since then we have been able to see the leg being painstakingly reconstructed and it looks like he is well on the way to recovering the use of his leg after extensive physio.

I think that quite possibly the most incredible thing that I saw was a pregnant woman who's child was having complications at 25 weeks into the pregnancy. The doctors had to perform an emergency C-section to save them. Since it was such a high risk surgery we were not able to be in the OT but we could view it from the outside. Everything was over extremely quickly, the surgeons working fast to reduce stress to the mother and child, and the baby was whisked away in an incubator to paediatrics. Both mother and child survived which is especially amazing considering that abortions are legal in the UK up to 24 weeks.'

Early on in our first week Tom and I got extremely lucky. We walked into a kidney transplant just as they were about to take out the kidney from the donor and move it across to the recipient. They prepared the kidney for removal laparoscopically (keyhole surgery), then cut a hole in the donor’s side, whipped it out and moved it quickly into the room with the recipient. With extraordinary care they attached the new kidney. They do not in fact remove the old one as there is less chance for complications if they just leave the old dud kidney in.

In our final week at the hospital I was again struck by an inordinately sized piece of luck. We had just jumped into an operating theatre waiting for a testicular dissection (to test the man's fertility level) and we got talking to the surgeon there. He was very amicable and was willing to explain everything that we were seeing and then just before he made the first incision he turned to us and said, 'So who wants to scrub up and join the surgery'. This was followed by a short gob-smacked silence before I piped up saying 'Yes please' before being taken to properly scrub up and get my surgical gown on. Then nervous and shaking I just went for it, following his every instruction nervously, not wanting to get anything wrong. He obviously did anything that required skill and experience but he allowed me to use a cauterizer to fry a few blood vessels and put in a few stitches when we were closing up after taking the sample. It was utterly exhilarating and I think will be the most memorable part of India for me. It has also welled up a desire within me to become a surgeon, but alas we shall see what happens when I go to Uni. I may yet be grabbed by an even more fascinating part of medicine that is unknown to me currently.


John
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