Phew, it has been an intense couple weeks. Have barely had time to think. I'll start with my 3rd week (last with Preceptor #1). As far as the clinic days went, we had some interesting cases - an IUD expulsion, a retained tampon, trichomoniasis, and lots of pregnant women with whom I got to practice finding fetal heart sounds. The most recent thing I can remember is my last day there - Thursday which lasted 24 hours. We had clinic during the day, then that evening we had an overnight call shift from 6:30pm-6:30am. I think it was that night that at the start I joined the doctor for a laparoscopic ectopic pregnancy removal. She was somewhere between 12-20 weeks. Apparently it is rather rare for an ectopic to get as far as surgery because they usually catch it early enough to use medical interventions. Anyhow, that was interesting. Then I slept for a while and got woken up for the delivery at the end of the shift. My preceptor let me sit in the front seat for this one and I delivered the baby, handed it to the mother, clamped the cord for the dad to cut, and delivered the placenta. My preceptor sutured up the tears, of which there weren't very many, and we took care of that. There was some retained placenta (I think because he was trying to get it out before it was fully detached, I would have given it more time but that's my side of things), but he got it out with a loop scraper.
A few other things of note - I was following a patient who I had assisted on a delivery for. She was a caesarean section because of a placenta previa. As a result of excessive bleeding that was suspicious for retained placenta or at least failure to clot, we took her back to the OR but in the room the uterus had essentially stopped bleeding so we inserted a 'balloon' to help plug the bleeding via compression. We took that out the next day. There was another patient for who had a urethral sling, vaginal/cervical suspension and anterior and posterior repairs done on the pelvic floor. Her posterior repair (the easy part at the end) wouldn't stop bleeding and she developed a painful hematoma so an hour after taking her out we had to bring her back into the OR to redo the stitching. That was a bit of a pain.
Now onto my 4th week (1st week with Preceptor #2). My new preceptor is very nice, a bit more 'preceptor-like' than my previous ones - a lot more teaching, more presenting, more following patients, more is expected of me but I am rising to the challenge without much problem. It's more mentally stimulating and it's nice to have a little autonomy. The first day I saw one delivery that went well, and then there was another one that ended up being a shoulder dystocia. Shoulder dystocias are one of the most scary complications in obstetrics because a healthy baby manages to get it's head out of the vaginal canal, but one of the shoulders gets caught beneath the woman's pelvic bone. This causes compression of the cord, and compression of the baby - so the baby is getting less oxygenation from the mother, and is doubly unable to expand its lungs to breathe air from the outside. At this point the team starts a timer and begins various maneuvers to free up the shoulder - including hyperflexion of the mother's legs at the hip, suprapubic compression, reaching into the uterus and trying to free up the arm, and various clockwise/counterclockwise rotations. Last resort includes breaking the collarbone and/or humerus. Many complications can occur as a result, one of the most notable ones is a brachial plexus injury which results in nerve damage to the impinged shoulder. The baby comes out with an arm that doesn't rise, it is pinned to the baby's side and it's hand is facing behind it - Erb-Duchenne Palsy (or "Waiter's Tip" palsy). Anyhow...this baby they got out and it ended up having decreased arm movement, it looked like it had some nerve damage. Luckily, even when these signs are present at birth, 85-90% of the time the baby recovers in the first 2 months. By the second day after the delivery, the baby was starting to move its hand and shoulder.
Now onto today - a nice long 24 hour shift from 7am to 7pm. This L&D floor is a lot smaller than the previous department that I was in so there aren't too many active patients, and there's a bit more down time. However, as luck would have it, we had ANOTHER baby with shoulder dystocia today. The first baby ended up being 9 pounds 11 oz, and this one was 10 pounds 1 oz. Needless to say, it is well documented in the literature that large "macrosomic" babies have a higher incidence of shoulder dystocia. This one didn't have any real nerve damage though. The mom was pushing for a good 2.5 hours, it was a little challenging with language barriers but it worked out okay. From what I can tell, shoulder dystocias are not very common occurrences - some previous students haven't even seen a delivery period, so for me to see two dystocias is pretty crazy. I'm glad the outcomes have been relatively good.
We also had an interesting ED consult for gynecology - a woman with a 14cm possible tubo-ovarian abscess. We have started her on empiric antibiotic therapy while we wait for GC/Chlamydia results. There is some concern that it may be a tumor, or have some tumor involvement because she has had significant unintentional weight loss over the past 6 months. No way to know at the moment - just gotta treat. I'm gonna nap now, I'll be woken up if we have any new admits - on the plus side, I get the day off tomorrow. More studying, wooh!