Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Call Night and Week 2

OB-GYN is coming along without much of a problem.  I had my on-call night, and I thought I had been warming up to the whole baby thing, but I think the first vaginal delivery was kind of the ideal situation, along with ideal family responses, and environment.  The call night started out with figuring out logistics essentially - talked to the doctor for the evening, and it was my preceptor and this other female doctor on call that evening.  They divide the night into shifts, and so my preceptor slept from 9pm-2am, and the other doctor got to sleep from 2am-7am.  Like all medical students, I wanted to show my enthusiasm, so I decided to spend as much time with the other doctor before caving into sleep.  We had a couple interesting cases.

First case - fetal demise in an orthodox Jewish woman, 3rd pregnancy (has two living children).  A couple things are wrong with this case.  First, she was inconsistent with her prenatal care and was taking a lay midwife's advice over going to prenatal checks with her physician.  The doctors that I work with at the hospital have made a distinction between the midwife nurses at their hospitals and the lay midwives who are not affiliated - that in the hospital, their threshold for thinking a baby is in trouble (and thus, needing to interfere with the 'natural' progression of a gestation and vaginal birth) is a lot lower.  As a result, the hospital midwives are more willing to consult a doctor about a baby's status, or suggest a C-section.  Anyway, the woman stopped feeling any fetal movement around 23 weeks and the lay midwife said that was "normal".  The woman finally comes into the hospital after a WEEK of her baby not moving and there are no fetal heart tones of course, so it's dead.  The second problem is that a lack of prenatal screens/ultrasounds didn't catch what is most likely an anencephaly (or lack of a head) on the baby.  It could have been caught a couple weeks earlier, but no.  People like to talk up natural traditional methods of health care, but there's a reason we have these tests.  The third problem with this case is the orthodox religion - mostly it just makes patient care more difficult, but they need to consult another rabbi (even though her husband is a rabbi) to determine if they can test the placenta (dead baby is definitely off-limits) for chromosomal abnormalities.  Often when a woman has a fetal death, it is reassuring and relieves guilt to know that the baby had a chromosomal abnormality or other problems inherent in the baby that would have made it nonviable no matter what.  

Next case of the night... this really pretty Asian girl, possibly Filipina, late twenties, on her third child.  Her husband was with her, kinda ugly, but I gave him the benefit that maybe he's just a really sweet supportive guy to win a gal like her.  She decided to go through the vaginal delivery without any epidural anesthesia, and she barely made a peep - she did a great job, trembled a lot, but delivered the baby pretty quickly.  Right after this, the husband essentially ditches his shaking wife and stands with his back to her filming the baby in the warmer with his phone.  Once or twice the wife seemed to try to get his attention but he either glanced briefly or didn't respond.  This went on for at least 10 minutes, the whole time I was in the room anyway.  There also wasn't anyone else in the room, no other family.  I never saw him go over and ask her how she was feeling, or tell her she did a great job - made my blood boil.  

Next case before I went to bed - 21year old girl, second pregnancy, husband was this short kinda meek white guy - she delivered like a pro too - she did have an epidural, but she basically had no problems.  The husband on the other hand just about passed out when he saw the baby crowning - he wasn't intending to look, he was walking around where we were to the other side of her and his face just went white and he just about fell to the ground right there.  It was kinda funny, but at least all the family were supportive, smiling, and the husband stayed next to his wife this time.  

After that I went to sleep and my preceptor called me when he had a new case - we did a few checks to see if any girls' water was breaking, interesting stuff.  Around 8am I was done and in the car.  

That was it for that week - yesterday we started in the clinic and I got to do some Pap smears and some prenatal checks where I measured the uterus size (to see if it was consistent with the gestational age) and checked fetal orientation and heart rate.  The first one or two were a little challenging to find the heart beat for me, but I think I've started figuring out where the baby's body is oriented, so I was spot on the last 3 heart rate checks.  We saw a woman with an expelled IUD - usually that doesn't happen to women who have had pregnancies, but apparently she was told she has a short cervix.  

Today had two surgeries - one was a mid-urethral sling insertion, which is to help with incontinence.  The woman was awesome - she was a feisty, energetic, humourous elderly woman.  It's always reassuring to see older people with such vitality!  So that surgery took 35 minutes, no problem.  The next one was significantly longer, a laparoscopic vaginal hysterectomy, on a woman with an enlarged uterus and multiple fibroids - had to cut it up a lot and bring it out piece by piece.  The doctor my preceptor was assisting actually thanked me at the end for my help because the extra pair of hands made it go a lot better than they were expecting.  Yay!  

Tomorrow is a morning/afternoon of surgeries, and then another evening of call duty - I think I will try to sleep when my preceptor does this time, since I will not have had all day to relax.

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