Sunday, June 6, 2010

The "Volunteer"

I spent my entire afternoon at the hospital yesterday. Mum works there, you see, and she thought it would be A Good Thing for me to come and help tidy up a few of the rooms for the up-coming accreditation visit. Sure, I thought, it’s raining, and what else am I going to do with my holidays?

But of course it was a Saturday, and footy was in town, so in the end I only ended up dusting one of the back rooms. The rest of the time (5 hours, all told), I was looking at X-rays. Before lunch, Mum was called in to X-ray a footballer’s thumb. We couldn’t see a fracture, but when the doctor came in he gave me a mini-tutorial. Which bone are we concerned about in this type of injury? (scaphoid). How long before we X-ray it again? (10-14 days). We had a chat about electives and medicine and he taught me how to reduce a dislocated shoulder (morphine and midazolam to relax the patient, then externally rotate the shoulder, pull it downwards until it pops back in, then place that hand on the opposite shoulder).

After lunch Mum was called back in – to X-ray a dislocated shoulder! How perfect! Well not so much for the patient, because he was in a lot of pain, but I got to cannulate him for the medications and watch as the doctor reduced his shoulder. He did it exactly as he’d explained, and it was very quick, very neat, and very much appreciated by the patient (“f--k yeah!” He exclaimed when he felt the ‘pop’).

It must have been a rough game, because we also X-rayed an ankle (probably ligament damage), and a thumb which had an obvious fracture. I did a bit of dusting in between patients, but in the end I really didn’t get much done. Mum probably knows now not to bring a med student to do the dusting – they’ll just wander off and find patients.

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