Friday, September 22, 2017

Goodbye, Cyndi Lauper

When I first started practicing, any time a patient would have brain surgery, the surgeon would inevitably shave half their head to do the surgery.

I found this practice ridiculous.  The patient would come out of the surgery looking like Cyndi Lauper at her worst.  I have never witnessed anyone who looked good with half their head shaved. (Including Cyndi.)  I always felt like it then fell to us to deal with the remaining hair.

More recently, the trend has changed.  Instead of shaving the whole head, the surgeon will just shave a teeny area at the incision site.  So instead of rocking Cyndi Lauper, the patient looks pretty normal post-surgery.

From a perspective of compassion for people's vanity, I think this is awesome.  I love it.  It's bad enough you have to have brain surgery without losing all your hair and changing your entire appearance.  So I'm glad about this change.

But from the perspective of the doc who has to monitor these incisions, it's so.  Annoying.  Half the time, I have to do a search for several minutes to find the damn incision.  If it started looking worse, it would be really hard to tell.  And digging staples out that are caked in both dried blood and hair is not a fun task.  Shouldn't we put patient safety above hair?

I'm really torn on it, honestly.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

What day is it?

Me: "What is today's date?"

Patient: "Well, it's the day after yesterday!"

I'm going to have to remember that one for when I'm old and confused.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Pediatrician's Dilemma

A friend of mine who is a pediatrician told me the following story.

He has a patient who is a little girl with some chronic medical issues.  The girl's mother had some legitimate issues with the nursing care that the girl was receiving while hospitalized as an inpatient.  Although this was not the pediatrician's fault, the mother apparently laid into him, screaming at him publicly for a good five minutes.

Of course, the girl is still hospitalized and he's the pediatrician on the inpatient service right now.  So now he has this awkward situation with the patient's mom.  He said that if this girl had been one of his clinic patients and he'd been treated that way, he would have requested she find a new doctor.  But since the girl is hospitalized and probably will be for another week or so, he's stuck.

"I just have to suck it up," he told me.

That's a rough situation though.  Even though the mom screamed at him, she didn't fire him so he's still allowed to see her daughter.  Is there really no alternative to treating a person whose family was verbally abusive to you?