Friday, April 30, 2004

Postop Day One

I'm tired. The first case (the t-shirt case) took much longer than expected (which is a given), because it was actually a surgical challenge. Part of the problem was instruments - now, I know a good surgeon isn't supposed to blame the instruments, and I'm not really blaming them, just noting that the tools I had to work with just weren't well-suited to the task. We got it done, but it was much slower and much harder than it had to be. Anyway, after that we started the second case, and then it was very late. Back in the office today, two cups of coffee, and I'm still walking around with dead eyes. I had to dictate op. reports on surgeries done literally months ago, because the (unreliable) residents blew it, never did it.


Thursday, April 29, 2004

Minor Cases

Ohhhhhhhhhhh brother. The rage I'm feeling. Years of training, years of study. I'm providing a specialized surgical service to people who don't have that many options. And while I'm walking out of the OR waiting (as usual) for them to be ready for me (as usual), the "head nurse" accosts me: "Who are you?" (I'm new to this hospital. I guess that's why she's comfortable being that rude to me. Or maybe it's because she knows damn well that while I may be an Ivy-league educated surgeon, she's a unionized employee who is pretty much untouchable. Bitch.)

I tell her.

"It's OR policy that if you're wearing a T-shirt under your scrubs it has to be fully covered."

This is what she stopped me for. THIS is their policy?! How about a policy that every #@^&#$ surgery shouldn't start 45 minutes late? Or a policy that their scrub techs have actual competence at their jobs? Nope. T-shirt policy- no tolerance.

Does my T-shirt touch the patient during surgery? (It doesn't, it's covered by OR scrubs.) Do my OR scrubs touch the patient? (No.) What's the difference between my white T-shirt and the surgical greens? (Other than that my T-shirt was cleaned by me at home and not in a batch of industrial laundry by a cut-rate low bid housekeeping company that probably kicked back a few grand to the City Council to get the job).

Is there ANY EVIDENCE AT ALL that T-shirt bacteria pose a threat to surgical sterile technique? Through OR scrubs and through OR gowns? Fat #@!&% chance.

But that's beside the point, right? Much better to enforce the policies and to make senseless policies to enforce. It lets all of us feel like we're really valuable and really doing something for the patients. When actually, only I'm doing that.

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