Block Photo 2: Neurosurgery (May 8-14, 2013)

Neurosurgery
Photo credit: Agnes Custodio

NEUROSURGERY (NSS) wasn't a walk in the park as it was originally endorsed. At the ER I was monitoring five patients, three of them hourly. As the intern-on-duty I had to make sure all the CT scans were scheduled and performed, and the plates and necessary lab results should be available before the residents made rounds, usually at 10 am and at 8 pm. The job was mostly clerical, bordering on being a glorified errand boy, but it was the least the interns could do to help out in patient care. The NSS residents, chronically sleep-deprived, already had too much in their hands to start with.

What astounded me was the residents' calm and composure amidst the stockpile of their things-to-do. They are probably the busiest set of residents in PGH—and understandably so. They're more or less used to sleeping at most four hours a day, a rare luxury for many of them, considering that the lives of many patients are under their hands. There are only about two of them per batch. If neurosurgery residents can manage to keep their cool and not be irritable, then we, who are far less busy than them, certainly have no excuse for bad behavior, both to our colleagues and to our patients.

I got to meet Dr. Baticulon whose blog (Ronibats.ph) I religiously follow. Do yourself a favor and read his posts. He has a gift for teaching, making abstact concepts more understandable. I had never truly understood Glasgow Coma Scale completely until he demonstrated its implications to us. Before our rotation had even started he gave a brief lecture on the common neurosurgical cases encountered in our setting, and I was amazed at how he was able to cover so many topics in so short a time. The end-of-the-rotation exam he crafted was a teaching tool in itself, revealing the fact that I need to brush up on neuroanatomy.

We concluded the rotation with the mandatory block pose at the Neurosurgery Office. Sir Ronibats, sensing he didn't have a white coat on, opened his locker, donned his coat, and smiled with the rest of us.

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