It was 7 pm.  I’d already had a big day at the hospital with surgical rounds in the morning and a busy clinic in the afternoon.

But my on-call night of surgery was just beginning.  As I sat in the hospital cafeteria, in front of a plate of rice, broccoli and chicken, enjoying my first forkful of rice, sighing with relief at a welcome rest, my pager went off.  It was the emergency room calling me for a 61year old patient short of breath.  I had to come immediately.  I grabbed my dinner plate, stashed it in the on-call room where I had a bed, then rushed to the ER.  The technician had already done an X-ray which showed fluid in the pleural cavity.  The patient needed a chest tube to drain the excess fluid out of his lungs.

As I got ready for the procedure, my pager went off again. Surgical ICU messaged that a patient who’d been operated on earlier for gunshot wounds to the abdomen had a sudden drop of blood pressure.

I told the nurse to page my attending physician to decide whether the patient was bleeding internally and would need more surgery.  After placing the chest tube, I run to the ICU, only to learn I needed to scrub in to re-operate on the gunshot wound patient.

>>Read full article on my blog on Psychology Today

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