Over the last five days, I have spend most of my time in theatre. As part of my surgical rotation, I need to do a week of anaesthetic.
Anaesthesia is defined as loss of bodily sensation with or without loss of conciousness. There are three main components of anaesthesia, namely hypnosis (being put to sleep), relaxing your muscles and sedation (this means that you lose your awareness of your surrounding).
As a specialty, anaesthetic is one of the toughest training program to get into. There are high level of competition for young doctors to participate in anaesthetic training. It is quite attractive to become an anaesthetist since there are wide range of skills being involved and in term of salary, it has one of the highest salary grade among specialist.
Over the last week, I had the opportunity to practice putting a laryngeal mask into few patients. I had the chance to sharpen my skills in performing intravenous cannulation.
A laryngeal mask is a tube that is inserted inside your throat during an operation. The picture below shows how to put the laryngeal mask inside your mouth.
Picture from Merck Manual.
Intravenous cannulation simply means of putting a needle inside your blood vessels. This link will describe in detail how you perform the procedure.
As a medical student, putting a cannula (needle) inside the blood vessel was initially a hard task to be performed. You have to overcome your anxiety of hurting the patient and develop a good technique to insert the needle into a blood vessel.
Anyway, back to my anaesthetic rotation, it was exciting to be at the other side of the theatre. I used to be helping surgeons with the operation and hardly have any chance to sit on the other side. The anaesthetist usually sit behind the curtain and will monitor the anaesthetist machine to ensure the patient is breathing appropriately and is comfortable throughout the operation.
It is interesting to see how the anaesthetist handle the emergency cases. I had several emergency operation throughout the week such as emergency caesarian and emergency laparotomy due to unknown abdominal bleeding. There was a patient who had laryngospasm at the start of the operation and the anaesthetist taught me how to handle this emergency. Laryngospasm is uncontrolled contraction of the muscles inside your vocal cord and will cause a person to stop breathing. This is certainly a dangerous situation since it will cause lots of damage to your organs especially your brain.
In summary, being anaesthetist is fun but at the same time, it is hard to get into their training program. My next four weeks will be in theatre assisting the surgeons with their operation. This will be my last four weeks in medical school.
p/s: I'm looking forward for graduation but at the same time, I've to study hard for the final year exam. Hopefully, I will get a good mark from the exam.