Shadowing: Part II

11 June 2008

Early this morning, (12 AM – 7 AM), I did some more shadowing in the ED. The preparation for this really started about 7 hours before I went in, when I took a 3 hour nap before getting ready to go. I wasn’t really sure what to expect to feel like, but I wanted to at least see what one overnight shift was like, since as an EM doctor that is part of the job.

So, to make things more interesting, there was a pretty decent storm that knocked out power to the doctors’ house. So when I went over to get a ride to the hospital, it was quite interesting to see ALL the lights out, although I sort of expected it to be dark, considering it was midnight.

So we eventually got to the hospital, and apparently the overnight shift the night before had been really busy and everyone was really sick, but when the docs got signout, it was much slower than the night before. Thus the night began.

So, some interesting things I saw/learned to do:

– Listened to a female patient whose asthma had been exacerbated. Learned what wheezing sounds like in comparison with normal breathing. This was the first time during my shadowing that I really got to “do” something instead of just watching. This was with the attending EM physician (the one that I am technically shadowing, sometimes I end up going off with one of the residents). Most of the more interesting things that I saw were when I was with the attending.

– Saw a female patient with Glycogen storage disease type III. One symptom of this disorder is abnormal deposition of excess glycogen in certain organs and muscles. Because of this, many of her organs were larger than normal including her liver, spleen and heart. The attending showed me how to use palpation and percussion to get an idea of the size of her liver and other organs.

– A pediatric female patient who had a tracheostomy. She had a near-drowning incident when she was younger and is seriously sick. I didn’t really spend much time in the room with her (this was with one of the residents). It was sad, but interesting.

– A male teenager brought in by the police. He was sixteen years old and had been previously diagnosed with Schizophrenia. He hadn’t been taking his medications and was told by his father to go to his mother’s house. The police found him on the street rambling incoherently and brought him into the ED. He insisted that he is actually the real 50 Cent and that there had been a conspiracy to steal his sons or something of the sort. I’m not sure if he ever had to be restrained or not, but it was a definite possibility.

So, 7 hours while pretty much everyone else I know is sleeping: It was really a lot of fun and while I was DEFINITELY tired after the fact I really never felt drowsy or bored during the 7 hours I was in the ED. While last time I was mainly with the attending and one of the residents, this time I spent much more time with three of the residents. Two of them seemed really cool and seemed to like what they were doing, the other not so much. He didn’t exactly seem to be thrilled about being a doctor, but oh well. I suppose it happens. I definitely am liking shadowing in the ED still. I definitely want to get more involved in things, and am thinking about volunteering at a hospital closer to my home (Amsterdam Memorial). Hopefully I can volunteer in the ED there or at least somewhere medicine-related. I would hate to get stuck volunteering in a non-medicine related position.

Until next time,



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