Heard on the floors #2 OB-GYN edition

OB-GYN is typically divided into 3 parts- the obstetrics floors, where babies are delivered, the gynecology service, which deals with various gynecological surgeries, and the outpatient clinic, which does everything from pap smears to postpartum care. When people hear OB-GYN, though, they really think about one thing – babies. Invariably, the question every third-year student gets is, “Did you get to deliver a baby?” Luckily, I got to deliver two. But it was one of the times I didn’t deliver that really sticks in my mind. It was a C-Section I saw that left me feeling impressed.

I hadn’t seen Dr. Robinson at all while I was on the Labor and Delivery floor. I knew that one of my patients was having a Cesarean section, and knew that a Dr. Robinson was going to be the attending in the room, but since I didn’t know what Dr. Robinson looked like, I just hovered around the door of the operating room and glanced at everyone’s name tag as they walked by. Finally, a women walked up to the room, and I asked, “Are you Dr. Robinson? I’m one of the medical students on OB-GYN.” She replied back, “Does the patient know who you are? Because if you haven’t introduced yourself, you’re not coming into the room.”

Thankfully, I had spoken to the patient already, and I followed the doctor into the room. She became much more amiable after we had scrubbed in, asking me about my medical interests and quizzing me about the requisite anatomy. The surgery was relatively uneventful – the only exciting part was the fact that it was the patient’s 3rd C-Section, so pelvic adhesions were a potential issue. Towards the end, during the small-talk portion of the surgery, I asked Dr. Robinson, “Why haven’t I seen you on the floors for the last two weeks? I thought I had met all of the attendings.”

She laughed and said, “I haven’t been working the past two weeks – I’m actually on vacation right now. I drove back from our vacation house for surgery.”

Thinking she was vacationing down the Jersey shore, I asked, “Which town are you staying in?”

“Bar Harbor. Maine.”

It turns out that Dr. Robinson had driven ten hours, leaving at 3 in the morning, to come back and perform the C-Section. Again, this was not an overly complicated procedure. But the doctor said that she had promised her patient that she’d personally do the surgery, so, “It really wasn’t a big deal. My husband wasn’t too happy about it, though.”

I was amazed. I’d like to believe that I would have done the same thing in her shoes, but it’s certainly a lot easier to say than do. I know this, though – I’ve had a great example set for me for my future career.

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Filed under Day in the Life, Heard on the Floors, Hidden curriculum, Humanism, Storytelling

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