Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Kevin Realizes Mistakes Happen All the Time in Surgery

For those who don't know, I'm in a surgery preceptorship this quarter where I get to watch a surgery once a week. This is quite an amazing experience since I'm literally standing shoulder to shoulder with someone who is wrist deep into someone's heart (not metaphorically either, although im not sure what that metaphor would imply). Of course this intimate glimpse into the OR is not without its surprises...

Just last week, I was observing an ascending aortic composite graft procedure when out of the corner of my eye I noticed the scrub nurse engaged in a muffled conversation with the circulating nurse about something.  Then the  circ nurse suddenly drops to the ground and starts crawling around.  5 minutes of her best illegal immigrant maid impersonation later, she comes up and  seems to wave a "Negative" to her sterile compatriot.  The scrub nurse then turns to and asks:

"Kevin, can you look around for a needle, it should be attached to some blue suture."
"Uh... sure," I said, fumbling around my little section.  By the way, the universal "fumbling and patting the pockets" motion when pretending to look for something makes you look retarded while gowned up in an OR.

After 5 more minutes of my fumbling, I was forced to give a negative as well.  So finally the nurse tells the surgeon: "Doctor, we're going to have to x-ray this guy after you're done, I can't find a needle."  Oops.

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