Monday, October 14, 2013

Worst surgery story

This is probably the worst story I've ever heard about a medical student on a surgery clerkship:

Many years ago, a female colleague of mine was doing her surgery rotation. She was retracting for a male surgeon, and a few strands of her hair escaped from her cap.

So the surgeon reached out with his surgical scissors and cut off her hair!

I'd like to think that wouldn't happen anymore.

What is your worst surgery clerkship story?


  1. Did the hair then fall into the surgical field, prompting the surgeon to go ape shit over her having contaminated everything?

  2. I was just a nursing student doing my OR rotation -- but I saw a notoriously nasty/mean surgeon take a tool (?) out of a patient and throw it at the wall behind the resident who was assisting. She spent the ENTIRE two hour surgery screaming, roughly grabbing tools from the resident and "doing it right." I was petrified and thankful that I wasn't even a fly on the wall for the doc. End of the surgery, the circulating RN cheerfully comes up to me and goes "so, how do you like OR? Thinking about getting a job in it?" :/

    1. Oh my God. It is scary. And somehow feels so illegal.

  3. And where exactly did those strands fall? What a pig...

  4. As an x-ray tech, I got called to a surgery with a pain management surgeon, notorious for running through PAs like they were going out of style. The only thing that kept them on for any length of time was apparently obscene amounts of money.

    Anyways, about an hour into a c-spine procedure, his PA made the apparently huge mistake of pointing something out to the surgeon (no idea what, as they were speaking quietly, and I was by the C-arm in the corner). The first thing I hear is, "Look, motherf***er, what color retractor are you holding?" "I'm sorry?" "When you came in this morning, did you get the gold retractor or the silver f***ing retractor? That's right--silver! Sit the f*** back, shut your f***ing mouth, and know your role!"

    I looked over at the circulating nurse in shock, and she just whispered, "It's okay, he's always like this." I never did see that PA again; don't know if he left that day or soon after.

  5. Just finished my surgery rotation- had the surgeon scream at me to "go sabotage someone else's surgery". A) the surgery hadn't started yet and B) All I had done was walk through the door to the OR. Still not sure what I did.

  6. I didn't actually witness this so I don't know whether it was true or not but a classmate of mine was supposedly assisting a neurosurgical resident and did something wrong. The resident clamped an Allis clamp on the back of the student's hand. The student calmly removed the clamp, took the Bovie and branded the resident's forehead.

  7. One of my friends got told in the OR that she should hold her hand (with a retractor in it) "like you're at home pleasuring yourself".

  8. Wow. We've had some rude surgeons but never anyone being so downright disgusting.
    In fact, when we don't "assist correctly" they're very patient in correcting us. Surprisingly. I mean, it's not as if we have a class teaching us how to assist properly.

  9. like barefoot.. even am from d developing world.. work in a busy government funded hospital... but never.. i mean never... has anything close to what people above are telling has ever happened...

  10. Really? That's the worst? Wonder where the hair went, and if the scissors were used for the rest of the case!
    I have heard (second hand and glorified, no doubt) two that scared me:
    1) Attending punches resident in chest (This was at my institution, and he was fired shortly thereafter)
    2) Attending deliberately stabs resident with scalpel (Not at my institution, don't know the outcome)

    And heard from a resident: Med student is standing in the OR, wearing glasses. It is hot, and the entire abdomen is open for an ex lap. Student starts sweating. Glasses slip off the tip of the nose....and into the abdomen.

    Attending quickly fishes them out. Looks at the student and calmly says?, "Well, X, do you just want to drop trou and sh*t in him? Because you might as well have."
    (Don't know if this is true or not; rather reads like a joke, but was told to me as truth.)

    Really, though, I loved doing surgery. I thought the attendings were lovely people....compared to the scrub techs, bwahaha!

  11. I got dizzy towards the end of a 13 hour vascular procedure- it was my 1st week of 3rd year med school. I was standing on a stepstool (the attending was tall) and when I tried to step back I lost my balance and fell into the circulating nurse.

    The intern freaked out, and tried to get me to go to the ER so she could give me a head CT and an LP. Which is why you don't go to a surgeon to treat your vagal episode. Especially an intern. Especially in July.

  12. In the middle of a calvarial vault reconstruction, 1-year-old patient wakes up and extubates self. In the prone position, with the skull removed. Anesthesiologist goes inter the drapes. Attending develops Tourette's and just starts throwing everything she can get her hands on.

    I'm pretty sure everyone involved in plastics in the mid 90's heard about it.

  13. The "glasses fall in, why don't you just take a shit into the patient" story is legendary. Not saying it might not be true, but I've never run into anyone who has not heard it or told it as witnessed truth. Hell, I think I was hearing it before even starting medical school itself. Before the internet!

    I threatened an attending with severe bodily harm in a procedure once. And meant it. In the course of about an hour, he insulted not only me and the other staff "numb c---s" but then moved on to my children (over something he had overheard), who were preschoolers at the time. I drew the line and never regretted it. He was fired soon after that for something I never confirmed (word was that he slapped or otherwise assaulted a nurse).

    We have a new policy in the ED where attending specialists and hospitalists are "encouraged" to come see the pts before they leave to go upstairs (if time allows), so they present themselves in person often and confrontations happen on a regular basis. I take absolutely zero shit from them and I have my cohort convinced that this is the best path also. Word on the street is that the policy is about one complaint from being reversed. Surgeons are by far the worst group. Though they are some of the nicest and sharpest also.

    I just realized reading this that some of the worst seem to send their PA down to us lately, which is a great solution. So far 100% of them have been super sharp. Anyway. Contributing nothing as usual.

  14. the worst i've gotten was when i was assisting the consultant and was told i'm not fast enough and that if i see blood, i should just suck it up instead of waiting for instructions... the problem is, i'm kind of shorter than most of the regs/consultants so i can nver see into the field properly so i don't actually know where i'm sucking... anyway, one of the many reasons i'm not going into surgery lol