Saturday, December 24, 2005


I walked into the OR room to see how the intern was doing with her case. Residents are assigned to cases depending upon their skill levels and expertise. Given that this resident was in her first year, she was given a small case to perform with a midlevel resident: Hemorrhoidectomy.

This is a relatively simple operation. The patient is placed upon the table in what is called the "prone jackknife" position. Belly down, bent at the waist, butt up in the air with the cheeks taped open. A bit of a compromising position for the patient, but they're sedated so thankfully they don't remember much.

The procedure consists of looking in the anal canal, grasping the hemorrhoid in question, and then excising it off of the patient.

I walked in to find that the two residents were at about the halfway point of the operation. They had the hemorrhoid grasped with a clamp and were in the process of dissecting it off of the patient. The intern was in the zone. She was hunkered down with her game-face on, concentrating on removing that hemorrhoid. I did notice that she wasn't wearing goggles or any other eye protection.

"You might want to wear some goggles," I offered.

The intern didn't make a response, and just blew me off. I wasn't too surprised by her action, this intern had this "higher than thou" attitude about herself, and wasn't very keen on taking advice from others, even from upper level residents.

"I know it can get a bit uncomfortable, but-"

"I can't see with those damn things on and I'm doing just fine. Thanks for your concern," she interrupted, her voice dripping with venomous aggravation.

"Hey, I'm just saying that-"

"OK! I heard you. Thanks for the advice. I'm almost done!"

I rolled my eyes, shrugged my shoulders, and walked over to the anesthesiologist to make some small talk. Right about then, the patient let out a rip roaring fart, spraying a mist of liquid stool and blood onto the intern's face.

For a moment, time stood still as we all watched the intern back away from the operating room table.

"Oh. My. God. It's in my eye. It's in my EYE!" and then she let out a hair curling shriek.

It took all I could not to chant "I told you so, I told you so" and refrain from performing the associated dance.