Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Reality Check

Ayden gave me permission to randomly post on her blog this week. I'm post-call and don't feel like studying, so today is the day. I should be editing my manuscript, since I haven't picked it up in over a week, but trying to learn all there is to learn about the human body has put that project on hold. As of late, I've done a fair amount of thinking about the fictional world vs. the real world. As my means of unwinding from a long day in the hospital, I watch Grey's Anatomy. Since we're off season right now, I'm watching old seasons on Netflix.

I'm sometimes struck by just how different their (fictional) lives are to mine (don't even get me started on House. I had to stop watching that one). Just to set the record straight, here are a few things that continue to bother me:

1) The specialties. There are many ways to become a surgeon. You can become an OB/GYN, in which case you can do C-sections and other gynecologic surgeries (ovarian cancer, hysterectomies, etc). You can become a neurosurgeon. You can become an orthopaedic surgeon. Or you can become a 'general' surgeon. But you do not enter a general surgery program (as Meredith et al. have) and train with neurosurgeons or OB/GYNs or orthopaedic surgeons. They are different career paths. Of note, Cardiothoracic, Peds, Endocrine, Transplant, etc, are all specialties you can go into from general surgery. So Christina is on the right path.

2) ORs aren't dark. For the most part, anyway. They tend to kill the lights when working with the microscopes (ENT, ocular, vascular surgeries, etc), but most of the time, the lights are on. Which confused the heck out of me the first time I stood in on a surgery. As a side note, every time someone walks into an OR without a mask on, they're in trouble. Especially if the patient is in the room. After the wound is closed, it's okay to take off the mask, but before that, it's a huge no-no.

3) The stethoscopes This is more of an amusing fact than something that actually bothers me, but a lot of TV doctors wear their stethoscopes backwards. The ear pieces are supposed to point forward.

4) Surgeons do not spend all day, every day, in the hospital. On my two week orthopaedics rotation, three full days were spent in clinic. Surgeons have to follow their patients for a certain amount of time post-op, and have a clinic designed for that. Often they see their patients pre-op in clinic as well, though in some cases, the patient may be hospitalized first. But the hospital is generally not the first time most surgeons see their patients.

5) Chief of Surgery =/= CEO Dr. Weber has a lot of power. He runs the surgery department, which includes all the staff: surgeons, residents, likely even the OR nurses. But he does not run the hospital. He does not run the floor, where the patients are held before/after surgery. He does not completely run the ORs, the hospital does. So for all his power, Dr. Weber does a heck of a lot outside his power too. So there you go: 5 reasons Grey's Anatomy is not like the experience of real doctors.

Brought to you by your friendly medical student/writer, Chelle Lynn :)

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