Battleground

No caption required ;-)

No caption required 😉

I found this sign hanging outside the Nurse’s station and started laughing 🙂 🙂 🙂 but then I thought that it wasn’t entirely wrong. Doctors and nurses do have to do very long duties and they surely do ROAST the body and mind occasionally.

I remember my days as a surgical trainee, when we used to have 30 – 32 hour duties (emergency duties as they were known as). These duties are comparable to 30 hours in a battle field – battling fatigue, hunger & thirst. The only difference being that we used to battle to save lives.

Even the preparation for the duties was similar to preparing for a battle. In addition to an extra-heavy breakfast, food and refreshments used to be stuffed into my bag before leaving home (due to the nature of the duties, I rarely used to get a chance to enjoy these delicacies and most of them were devoured by my other friends :(). After the morning rounds in the ward, we used to enter the real battleground – the Surgical Emergency. This place was always swarming with patients, their relatives, nurses and doctors 24 hours a day – there was never a dull moment in this place (and trust me this place does not remind you of Scrubs or Grey’s anatomy). The day used to start with briefing the interns and junior resident’s, who used to be our wingmen during the entire duty. Before the start of the duty, all of us used to fill our white coats with syringes, needles, blades, IV lines, books, etc etc (quite similar to a soldier preparing for battle) and this ritual was repeated multiple times during the day (like re-loading one’s gun during battle).

Once the patients used to enter the ward, we used to get very little time to rest. Just to give you an idea, during one duty we used to treat a minimum of 100 -150 patients and carry out atleast 20-30 minor procedures and 5-10 major procedures. Lunch and dinner used to be at odd hours (sometimes only one meal a day) and usually on the go. We used to drink more tea/ coffee than water to keep ourselves charged up (although the adrenaline rush of being in the emergency also used to play its part).

We usually use to finish our duties by 3-4 PM next day and used to be extremely exhausted.

These duties fared better than any sleep medicine, as we used to fall asleep within minutes of hitting the bed. Although these duties were very exciting and played their part in moulding us into surgeons, sometimes they literally ROASTED our minds and bodies!!

Metalloman saved by magnets

If you call this junk food, wait till you read & digest this story!!

If you call this junk food, wait till you read & digest this story!!

This is a really interesting case (not related to Breast Cancer), I came across while working at Safdarjang Hospital. It was 2 AM, when this 16 year old boy was wheeled into the surgical emergency accompanied by his parents. He had developed acute pain in the abdomen which started in the morning and was getting worse by the minute. My junior immediately examined the patient & told me that he would require surgery as he had developed peritonitis (due to perforation of his intestines). As he started explaining the situation to his parents, they quietly came to me and started telling me about his history. What they told me was quite shocking!! This boy was consuming all kinds of objects including glass, light bulbs, buttons, batteries and magnets for the last 3 years(imagine this boy walking through the scanner at the airport!…the security guards would have been perplexed 😉 ) . In the past 3 years he never complained of pain in the abdomen (despite consuming a myriad of objects), but ironically he developed this pain within a week of stopping his unique diet (his parents had found out a week back and kept him under strict surveillance).

Without any delay we took the patient for an emergency surgery and what we found inside was truly shocking (I had seen cases of many cases of hair balls or trichobezoar in the stomach but this was something I wasn’t prepared for). His small bowel had multiple perforations and there were metallic objects jutting out from all the places (I usually wear two pairs of gloves during surgery but due to the nature of the case I had to wear an extra pair). We had to remove 2 feet of his small bowel as it was not salvageable and after finishing the case we cut open the bowel to see what all was there in the pandora’s box. What we noticed was quite astonishing….all the metallic objects had got stuck to the magnets which he had consumed. This was the reason his disease was restricted to that portion of the bowel. Had he not consumed those magnets, almost whole of this bowel would have been affected. We separated the objects from the magnet and painstakingly divided them into various categories.

We retrieved close to 350 metallic objects from the jumbled mass and it included 2 high power magnets (which literally saved his life), around 80 small light bulbs, 10 button batteries & more than hundred of his mother’s & sister’s hair clips (they were not happy to hear about this 😉 ). We clicked multiple pictures of these objects and the bowel (for which I am thankful to the anaesthetist and the poor intern whom we woke up at 4 AM to go to the OR with us). Unfortunately, I cannot share the pictures at present (as I have sent this case for publication in an international journal) but will soon share them on the blog.