Tuesday, June 17, 2008

ER weekend

Had my first 48-hour shift in the ER this last weekend. The weekend began with an easy day on urology. I basically just pick the patients I want to see with the different attendings. If I sneak off to write some email or work on some reearch, no one cares.

48 hours is a long time of being locked away in a job but, overall, it was a sweet weekend. Friday night, I slept almost all night. Saturday night, it was slow and I could get out for a run around the hospital. I like the feeling of not being looked at like a resident. In residency, we seem to play this game where nurses etc. aren't allowed to tell us what to do. Only if we are about to kill a patient will a nurse say something like "sometimes, we give this drug and they do really well". In the real-life ER, the nurse tells you what she thinks it is and it's up to me to agree or disagree.

One little girl came in with some pretty non-specific symptoms but she smelled a little like appendicitis. I think she would have got a CT scan at a bigger ER in a second. But in a tiny ER, where you have to wake up someone to come in from home to fire up the scanner, you think twice before scanning everyone. I talked it over with the nurse. Could she come back in the morning (this was 2 am)? Should we scan now? Well, we scanned her and it was appendicitis and the nurse and I high-fived, happy about having made the right choice.

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