How come they let you kids in the operating room?

Rank List. The Match. Residency. (Oh, yeah: and graduation!) Enough about that.

Rotation: General Surgery, Community Hospital outside Portland

We’re going to do a superior mesenteric artery (SMA) bypass in an elderly gentleman with a long smoking history and congestive heart failure. I visited him this morning with his internist.

“Hello, Mr. T. My name is Rae. I’m a medical student who works with the surgery team.” (Then introduced myself to his wife.)

“You’re not gonna be in that operating room when they cut on me, are ya?”

“That I am, sir.”

“Well I don’t know about that. I want them surgeons working on me. How come you have to be there?”

“Well, Mr. T. I’m gonna be a doctor in four months, so I need to know how to do surgeries on people. But you’ve got three surgeons working on you today, and they’re among the best in Southern Oregon. So I won’t be cutting on you, I promise.”

“Oh. Well, you had me scared for awhile. I saw you come in here and stand next to the doctor here, and thought you was just being rude. How come they let you kids in the operating room? And especially you young girls? Aren’t you all afraid of blood and guts an’ everything?”

“We students are all training so we can take care of you. I’ll be one of the doctors, and some of the other students are going to be nurses or nurse anesthetists.”

“Alright then. As long as you’re not cutting on me.”

I examined him, and as I was leaving the room, I said, “Have a good morning, and I will see you later!”

“It’s hard to have a good morning when you’ve got a 50/50 shot of not waking up.”

“Well, sir, you take all morning to soak in your wife’s pretty face. We’re going to do everything we can so by next week when she comes to visit you think to yourself, ‘You again?’”

4 responses to “How come they let you kids in the operating room?

  1. This was a great feature. Interesting
    topic; student and patient perspectives, and an outcome…. Lets have more of this kind of “what’s happening around OHSU”!!!

  2. I am thrilled to know and hear perspective Doctors are still respected in the medical arena and with patients reassuring their interest is important to better their health mortally standard.
    Yes I would agree we need to see more of this happening around OHSU.

  3. Thanks 🙂 This is going on all over OHSU–it’s what we get to do as med students!

    And I *do* love general and vascular surgery. I didn’t have any vascular experience until this rotation. But when I finally chose to go into family medicine, it was general surgery I held onto for so long. I still love it. I’m still very happy I’m choosing family med, but gen surg has been a very close second.

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