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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Rules of Work

I had one day of internship under my belt before the actual beginning date of internship on 18th March. This, thanks to my senior who had to prepare for his fantastic dance item for their graduation day on Friday (19th).

Even before that, on 12th, when the final years organized a "summer slam" fun event for seniors, I got one hour in paediatrics emergency (receiving) ward alone (with PGs). That is when the PGs taught me how to manage fever, cold, diarrhea (+dehydration), etc; with dose conversions for pediatrics. In there, though, an intern's main task is to monitor the children continuously. Check their SpO2, check their BP, check their pulse, check their respiratory rate and make sure they are all healthy. When checking for SpO2, if the fingers are too small or the child is too wobbly, you can use the toes. I wrote down all numbers in case sheets and it took more than the hour I was supposed to stay there.

But then, on 17th, when I was in the same ward from 11 o'clock till evening, things were much more fun.

Thalassemia. There were two major children that day. I had to fill their case sheet up, making sure to not miss an enlarged spleen while doing the per abdomen. The PG collected 4 blood samples each from them. Apart from cross matching sample and complete haemogram (+peripheral smear) sample which they needed every month when they come for transfusion, that day we took a sample each for ICTC and HBsAg - because they are at risk because of frequent transfusions. After despatching the parents with the samples (especially to the blood bank with a requisition letter indicating the blood group), I had to fill up the thalassemia registers - one to just note down every patient who comes with thalassemia (to track down thalassemia), and one with dedicated pages for each patient (to track down the patient).

By then the patients would have returned with the requisition approved from the blood bank so I can go and collect the blood. And they have a thalassemia register too (apart from the normal blood register and requisition register). In essence, everything is written down everywhere. The blood bags will be readied with name of the patient, blood group, donor number, and so many other details. I have to carefully enter those details in all registers checking they are all right. But, first thing to remember is, remove your shoes while entering the blood bank.

Back at the hospital the blood must reach ambient room temperature before being given to the patient and if it takes a long time before you can start transfusion put it in the fridge like I did. One of my patients didn't have a IV catheter yet and I didn't know how to put one yet and so I had to wait for my seniors to reach at 4 before starting transfusion. But, as you will read in the below paragraphs, it didn't start at 4 as planned.

Mantoux test. This one is simple. Take an intradermal syringe (insulin syringe?), take the tuberculin from the refrigerator. 5 TU (tuberculin units) (0.1mL) is all we need. Give it intradermally to get a small raised area. Draw a circle around that with a pen so there's no need to hunt for it when reading the reading between 48 and 72 hours.

Sedation. Kids who need MRI scan can bob their heads in all directions to confuse MRI machines. To prevent them from moving you inevitably have to put them to sleep. Either do this naturally or with lorazepam. Pushing drugs is tricky. First you block the backflow through the catheter by holding firmly at the wrist. Then you open the catheter and attach your lorazepam syringe. Then you unblock the vein at the wrist and push the lorazepam slowly. Then block again while you remove the lorazepam syringe and attach the saline syringe. Push the saline so that the lorazepam goes inside all the way and not stay at the catheter. Finally, you close the cap while the kid slowly goes to sleep. All this is wasted if the kid wakes up by the time they are inside MRI machine. And that happened to my patient thrice that day.

Death. I was learning how to put a venous catheter from the senior intern who came at 4. And then, this baby came with "difficulty in breathing". And while I was putting the pulse oximeter on the toes I realized it won't show anything because the senior put the stethoscope on the cardia and there was no activity. They then threw torchlight into the eyes and there was no pupillary reaction. All I had to do was stay back while my senior asked all the relatives to go out and called in a male relative to whom he broke the news. But the whole family knew within minutes and there were some cries but I was lost in writing thalassemia registers by then.

Work. It was getting late and I was staying longer than I had to, so I just reminded my senior who was taking over about the blood transfusion and slowly left and that's when a parent whose child wasn't sleeping under MRI machine came to ask for a doctor to accompany and give sedation. My senior asked me to leave nevertheless saying it's not my duty time. And just as I was outside, I was called by the intern I was replacing because he was called by the PG to accompany the patient and give sedation. And there goes rule #1:
Do not run from work, it will come behind you.
 So I went back. Filled syringes with lorazepam (the senior intern filled this and I'm still confused about the dilution) and saline. And went with the parent to reach the radiology department. And there the mother was waiting with the baby sleeping on her and she broke the news as soon as we reached "the baby slept and we took MRI". So, corollary to rule #1.
Sometimes, if you delay work just long enough, you might not have to do it.
 But I realized over the next week the rule #2
Do not let work get piled up. Do them as soon as you can.
 My actual first posting is to surgery department. I will write about it in the next post.

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