Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Post-Traumatic Stress

      I am finally done with my trauma surgery rotation. To put it mildly it was quite.........traumatic. Not only did I start on (what I am told is) the hardest rotation, I also started on nights. 6pm-7am technically, but there were days that I did not leave until 9:30-10 am. Additionally, I had zero hand-holding or guidance. It was strictly a "figure it out for yourself because all of the senior residents are busy" situation. More about that later. I am super tired right now, so I will delve into the specifics of the rotation in a later post, however, here are a few fun facts/helpful hints that I picked up during my trauma month.........

1.) Your list (a sheet/many sheets of paper with the names of all of the patients on your service, their medical record number, their injuries, their surgeries, their medications, plus the plan for each patient that you write in during rounds every morning) is your lifeline.
2.) If you lose your list they should definitely call medicine, because you are likely going to have a heart attack. THEN, they should call a level I trauma, because your chief will definitely kill you when you ask him/her to repeat everything discussed during rounds.
3.) A highlighter and a red pen (or in my case, red, blue, and black) are very helpful for organizing your list.
4.) Gun shot wounds are often only a level 2 trauma (unless they are to the chest).
5.) Riding a bike is very dangerous.
6.) So is riding a motorcycle.
7.) Please and thank you go a long way.
8.) Please and thank you do not necessarily make anyone (especially the ancillary staff) do their jobs in a city hospital.
9.) Everyone tries (hard!) to avoid doing their jobs in a city hospital.
10.) If you use phrases like "my attending wants this test," "it is urgent," or "this is the only thing keeping this patient in the hospital," there is a small but significant increase in the chance that the test/task you want done will actually get done.
11.) Orthopedists do not like to take care of their own patients- they will always try to transfer the patient to another service (like trauma!).
12.) Patients can actually refuse to leave the hospital when they are discharged......for 24 hours.........before the police come and take them out in handcuffs.
13.) MRI machines are not very big.
14.) If a patient is too large to fit in the MRI machine and desperately needs an MRI, they send them to the zoo to get it (I am serious).

      As I said before, I will definitely talk more about my experiences on trauma in a future post, but right now I am just enjoying that fact that when I got paged on my way out of the hospital tonight, about an hour later than I was supposed to leave, about a patient that was assaulted with golf clubs, knives, and a baseball bat, I told them to page the night resident. And I will NEVER have to see that patient. EVER........because I am done with trauma!!!