Saturday, June 26, 2004

Dr Who Kicks Ass

Y'all know what Jeb and I do all do, but I've never really blogged to much about Julie. I thought some of ya might get a kick out of knowin' more about what resident life is like, specificly an anesthesiology resident.

Now first lets just talk about anesthesia. Now if you get your medical knowledge from ER, then you probably think that surgeons run the whole show. In fact, you would never even know that anesthesia exists by watching that unbearable foolishness. Let me clue you in a bit. An anesthesiologist's job is to keep you alive, and pain free, while a surgeon does terrible things to your body that would otherwise kill you.

Everyone talks about the surgeon who first performed a heart transplant, and the person that everyone forgets, is the anesthesiologist that was there actually making sure everyone lived through it!

My wife can stop your heart, and re-start it... Safely.

When the shit hits the fan in the ER... you know who they call? Surgery? Hell no. They call anesthesia, because anesthesia is who is gonna intubate the patient when no one else is good enough too. When there's a code, the medicine folks are supposed to be running it... and while two of them stand around with their thumbs up their asses, going over the differential diagnoses for a coding fella who happens to be blue, the anesthesiologist simply walks in, tubes him, and walks out. Code handled.

Anesthesiologists are the backbone of a hosptial. From MRI's, to Pain Management, to Trauma, to Surgery, to I.C.U's, to O.B., there is not a service in the hospital that doesn't depend on them.

So many people think an anesthesiologist just puts you to sleep. HA! They wish. What they really do is monitor you all the way through surgery. They watch every vital sign, and manage your fluid levels. When you need blood, it's the anesthesiologist that gives it to. When you need a drug administers... anesthesiologist... When the Surgeon F's up and you try to die, it damn sure ain't the surgeon that saves you.

Julie goes to work at 5:30am every morning to get the or's setup for the first case. They do cases, and turn-over OR suites all day. They get 1 30 minute lunch break, and 1 15 minute afternoon break. If she gets home before 6 or 7, it's a good day, on a bad day, she may be there till 9 or 10. When she's on call, she goes in at 3:00pm, and usually ends up working all night, until she's relieved at 7am the next day.

July she's covering SICU, the Surgical Intensive Care Unit. When she's on call for that, it means that she goes in at 7:00am, and is releaved at noon... Noon the next day that is. Ever worked a 30 hour shift? And don't for a minute think about the call room beds. They exist, but they never get used. There may be 2 hours of sleep in that 30 hour shift.

Recently they've passed some rules over at the acreditation office. Residents are now only supposed to work 80 hours per week. Of course that's averaged over a 4 week span, so 100 and 120 hour work weeks still happen all the time. They just get balanced out with 40 hour weeks... or the department just lies about the hours.

A truck driver is required by law to sleep for 8 hours after he's been on the road for 12 straight.

But anesthesiologists spend 24 hours straight in the OR's... almost every week.

You think they're overpaid? Whine some more about your aweful 50 hour work week. The word "overpaid" is an economic myth. If someone is will to pay you an amount for a service, then by definition, that is what that service is worth.

The next time you bitch about the price of healthcare, think long and hard about what these people go through, because they don't do it out of charity. They quit, and retire early everyday, because the stress and hours aren't worth 100 grand per year.

Oh, and that pediatrician you bitch about? They average about 80grand a year, and have some of the worst hours. I've seen them quit to go to work driving trucks because they make more per hour.

Food for thought.

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