Burnt to a Crisp: A Third-Year General Surgery Resident’s Perspective
I remember when I started surgical residency as a brand-new intern. Every page, from every nurse, no matter what the concern was, deserved my full attention. Patient complaining of heartburn; please order Tums! the page read.
Heartburn? Is it just heartburn? What if this is a heart attack? What if this is the start of a gastric ulcer that may perforate? I better go see the patient; this could be an emergency. I have three other postop checks to do, two vascular dressing changes, and four discharge summaries …and it’s only 5:30 p.m. I am on hour 11 of a 24-hour shift and I still have not had breakfast nor lunch nor any type of snack. Have I even stopped to pee? Do I even have to pee? I have drank zero ounces of water today—my kidneys can’t even make urine. But this patient with heartburn—this could be a medical emergency. I MUST go see the patient STAT!