The focus of this web site is medicine. In this blog, you’ll read about patient stories. The situations have been changed to be HIPAA compliant. Factual statements may or may not be true. I may change ages, gender or presenting complaints about patients. I may even entirely make up complete patient encounters from my fertile imagination. Trust me, if you think I’m writing about you, I’m not. There are billions of people in this world and readers send me stories about patients all the time. It isn’t you.
You’ll also read a lot about health care policy. I may throw in posts about life lessons, computers, and will even throw in family stories once in a while. If you’re looking for articles about politics, sports, or celebrities, you’re in the wrong place – unless the topics have some relationship to medicine.
If you want to add a guest post or to cross-post something from your blog, or if you have a patient story you want me to write about, e-mail me. See more information in the “About Me” page.
By Birdstrike M.D. It was intern year of my Emergency Medicine residency. I was on my trauma surgery rotation and working at least 100 hours per week (pre-ACGME regulations). To say that I was burned out and sleep deprived would be an understatement. It was three weeks into residency and I had done nothing but change dressings on my Chief resident’s patients’ putrid decubitus ulcers, run to get gauze packets, perform rectal exams, “RETRACT!”, and be the butt of senior resident jokes. I had learned so few real skills in procedures or anything else that I was seriously ready to quit at this point, but in way too much student loan debt to do so. I can’t tell you how many times I prayed for this guy to end up blind, impotent and in an adult diaper. My supervising resident, Chief “Violate” … I’m sorry, let me rev up my French accent, Chief Violetté was infamous for getting his first two surgical residencies shutdown due to his generally abusive nature, not to mention his penchant for being an exquisite jerk at the perfect moment. At his program’s ACGME site visit, when he was asked why he logged 168 work hours three weeks in a row during his first surgery rotation, his response was,“I wanted to work 170 hours, but when I got to 168, there were no more hours left in the week!” I must say, despite being a bastard with no equal, old Chief “Violate”(as I will refer to him from now on), made me take my game to another level. It’s Saturday night. I’m on call. I’m dead asleep, and let’s just say I’m feeling a little “pukey” and abso-friggin’-lutely exhausted from having a little too much fun the night before at the local nursing school graduation after-party. I hear this insanely loud pounding on my call room door and our medical student is screaming, “Wake up! Wake up! The Chief’s got an intubation for you! He wants you in the trauma bay in 30 seconds!!” In a deep circadian haze, I run down to the trauma bay, and Chief Violate grabs my ear, pulls me into trauma room 1 and says, “I’ve got a procedure for you, big boy.” I look down at the patient on the stretcher and see a pair of boots, blue jeans, a belt, a man’s tattooed chest, a perfectly normal neck and … a bloody stump of a partial-head pouring out blood like a lawn sprinkler. As my sphincter tone increases rapidly to diamond cutting levels, the Chief puts a Mac 3 in my left hand and a 7.5 ET tube in the other, pushes me to the head of the bed and says, “You’ve been whining about not getting any good procedures, so cock, lock and get ready to rock, tough guy!” To everyone’s shock and amazement, the guy is alive! He’s conscious! Choking on blood he screams, “Finish me off! Finish me off, and put me out of my misery, you bastards!” Apparently, instead of pointing the shotgun at the back of his throat towards his brainstem which would certainly have been instantly fatal, he put it in his mouth and pointed upwards, tearing off his upper teeth, maxilla, nose, eyes, forehead and frontal skull, leaving the key parts of his brain intact. As my heart rate creeps up to near SVT levels, the Chief painfully flicks my ear and says, “What the hell are you waiting for? Intubate him, All-Star! Don’t worry. This will be the easiest airway of your life.” Only having intubated sedated animals and rubber dummies ...Read More »