Saturday, April 12, 2008

Trauma And Sore Throats

For those keeping track, I'm back in Spokane and in my surgery clerkship. On Saturday, I took call. Whenever a patient comes in to one of Spokane's ERs and needs surgery, they call the doc I'm working with to do it. In addition, today that surgeon was also on trauma call. After we rounded on the practice's patients on the floors, I could have gone home to study or wait for calls. (And the calls would come, a this is the first warm weekend of the year.) Instead of being unproductive at home, I hung out in the ER where the trauma cases would go. It happens to be the same ER I worked in previously as an internal medicine student, so I knew the staff and my way around. From noon to midnight, I managed the following problems:
  • Torus fracture of the radius in a ten year old
  • Sore throat
  • Tooth pain
  • Hypotensive emergency
  • Strep throat vs. mono vs. peritonsilar abscess
  • Bleeding in a 6 week pregnancy
  • Altered mental status
  • Wallpaper induced migrane
  • Alcohol + ATV = Badness
Technically, the only trauma case was the last one. For that, I put in a chest tube to treat a pneumothorax. But that doesn't mean I only did one procedure. I also:
  • Wrapped a soft splint
  • Took throat cultures
  • Placed an IV line
  • Did pelvic and bimanual exams and ultrasound
  • Inserted a nasogastric tube
  • Spoke several times with a social worker
Even though only one actual trauma case came through (so far! I'm on call from home until 7AM), today was great. It's because I was in the emergency room. I'm comfortable enough there that I know where stuff is and can contribute as a team member. And that's what I like about medicine.

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