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Let The Mayhem Begin — Repost

It has been a few years since I last posted this. You can tell it occurred a while ago by the prices quoted. Nevertheless, the outcome still makes me chuckle … even years later. I still have fond memories of my internship year and I still keep in touch with several people I worked with during that time – despite the distance and years between us.

Good luck to all the new interns!


Medical studies prove it. Interns are more error prone during the first month of their first year in training. July 1 is the “changing of the guard,” so doctors and patients alike – be careful out there.

In honor of the graduating students and the residents graduating to their new PGY year, below is my version of a MasterCard commercial for the best story I heard about a new resident on an OB service. First a bit of an explanation.

When a woman is in labor, doctors will periodically do a gyne exam to determine how dilated the cervix has become. When the cervix is only 1 or 2 cm dilated (sometimes called “fingertip” dilated because all you can get in there is a fingertip), delivery usually isn’t imminent. As the cervix dilates, you can begin to feel the baby’s head (unless there is a breech presentation and you feel a foot or the baby’s buttocks). When the patient hits 8 or 9 cm, the patient usually starts feeling a need to push the baby out. Grab your catcher’s mitt, because the baby is coming. A little more information about cervical dilation in pregnancy is here.

Getting back to the story … mind you that this story is hearsay, but it comes from a friend of mine who worked as a secretary on an OB floor, so I consider her a pretty reliable source. I also did an internet search to make sure that I’m not perpetuating some urban legend and I couldn’t find anything. So here goes:

Medical school education: $240,000
Brand new white lab jacket with embroidered name: $37.50
Four pack of Red Bull to keep you up all night during your first call: $9.00
Obstetrical textbook to learn about the stages of labor: $219
Three one-minute cell phone calls to the chief resident to update him on the patient who is pushing but whose cervix remains “fingertip” dilated: $1.20
Spanish-English dictionary to find out why the patient keeps saying something sounding like “debo empujar” (“I have to push”) and keeps calling you “pendejo“: $16.95
Watching the OB nurse double check the patient’s cervix, flip out, and call for a STAT c-section because the patient’s cervix is fully dilated, the newborn is in a breech presentation, and you’ve been sticking your finger in the kid’s anus instead of the mom’s cervix for the past 30 minutes: priceless


  1. Laughed out loud with hilarity. Good thing I’m by myself.

  2. Yikes! But funny if all was alright in the end.

    How is October for relatively new interns in a tertiary care center?

  3. Cost of a new keyboard after reading this story: $19.95.

    Thanks for that one!

  4. He was doing what he was told on the first day–A finger in every orifice on admission. He was just a little premature and repetative for the baby’s H & P…

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