Sunday, February 01, 2009

Life is Short

It's not too often that you speak to someone at 7am and pronounce them dead at 4:31pm. I am currently on an anesthesia rotation...and that is just what happened to me last Thursday.

Long story short, this patient was having a CABG/MVR (coronary artery bypass graft/mitral valve replacement). The patient was already in bad health....and had been on long term steroids, making the tissues harder to work with. We came off bypass (the first time) just fine...but when the surgeon spotted an area that needed more work, we had to put the patient back on bypass. Unfortunately, the patient didn't come off the second time as well. The grafts that the surgeon had just placed starting breaking apart. No matter how much blood we gave and how quickly the surgeon tried to fix things, the tissues couldn't take it - the patient died on the table.

This is the first time this has happened to me during medical school. I performed CPR once before...and the patient left the ER alive, only to die 12 hours later....but this happened right before my eyes.

Surprisingly, it didn't hit me as hard as I thought an experience like that might. I think I've had so much experience doing autopsies that death seems a huge part of LIFE to me. Actually, when I first met the patient at 6:50am that morning, I already had a bad feeling for the day....I think I had already prepared myself that the outcome may not be very good. Unfortunately, my prediction was correct.

1 comment:

Sassy and Classy Southern Mrs. said...

Stumbled across your blog from your Facebook page. Wow, that story really makes you think and enjoy every second you have. It takes special people to be Dr.'s, you are a blessing to society.