Chester in Houston

Chester is participating in the Debakey Summer Surgery Program through the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston this summer. The program is designed to provide students with an opportunity to work with faculty, surgical residents, medical students, and nurses. During the eight weeks, students become familiar with the hospital environment, the operating room, and the lifestyle of a surgeon. They are expected to become an integral part of their surgical teams by participating in rounds, surgery, and conferences.

Beyond the operating room

While not posting an enormous number of entries, I promise that I have enough stories from my training at the VA to fill pages and pages of blogs.

First of all, I feel that I am really part of this vascular surgery team. Not only from the operations I have been able to participate in (such as just yesterday when I was allowed to saw through the tibia and fibula during an amputation), but also the countless lessons and teaching that I continually receive have all contributed to give me an even better understanding and appreciation for the surgical field.

I fully believe that my chief resident is one of the best – not only in the general surgery program here, but in the nation. He does not merely demonstrate the knowledge it takes to reach his level, but he delineates the compassion and integrity one must have for their service and for their own family. I feel that some of the best advice I have received over the summer has come from stories and lessons he has shared with me that have little to do with medicine at all.

In addition, I have been extremely fortunate to actually receive lectures and advice from both Michael DeBakey and Kenneth Mattox, both of whom answered my specific questions, sitting only feet away. Meeting these distinguished doctors is truly an honor, and I can only hope to achieve a fraction of what they have accomplished. Yet, even after all of their many honors and triumphs, they allotted time to speak with us, and I was able to speak to them (terrified and nervous, of course) as they took my questions and provided detailed responses.

These were moments and words I will never forget.

– Chester

Posted in Chester in Houston | Comments Off on Beyond the operating room

In the Operating Room

Life at the VA is still the same demanding work, and I am still really enjoying it. It is nice to be able to wear scrubs all day and always be on the move and not confined to a desk.

After morning rounds, we spend most of our time between the OR and visiting patients between cases. We have about three or four cases every day and usually they are all different. As more time has gone on, I have been able to have a more productive role in the operating room. There have been times that we have two OR rooms, and therefore the residents are so spread out that I am able to be the first assistant to the attending. In addition, the team has taken time to show me how to properly close all the different layers of the body. I have developed to a point where they now expect me to do this without being guided.

In addition, every Tuesday and Thursday we have lectures about different fields of surgery. Today we had a lecture about trauma, and I have added another job to my list of specialties I do not want to go into. I am about halfway through this program and still would highly recommend it to those who feel strongly about being a surgeon, for the program really shows you if you can handle it.

After being with this team for a few weeks I have come to understand that it is not just all work and no fun. These guys are always making jokes, taking “some” time off, and can even act like college students at times. They have been so nice to me and treat me as if I was a first year resident (which at times is not so good, especially if I don’t know the answer to their many questions).

Posted in Chester in Houston | Tagged , , | Comments Off on In the Operating Room