28 January 2010

Live from the OR

Once upon a time I did a post composed of live blogging from the ER. I thought I would replicate the concept tonight by giving you an idea of what a transplant case looks like for me.

11:07 - consent is obtained and I receive an email. I am now aware that a donor liver is expected to arrive for a patient and the surgery should occur sometime today.

17:48 - I find out the donor liver is not expected to arrive until after 10pm, that means an overnight surgery is likely.

21:11 - I call the main OR desk and they indicate a lines-in time of 11:30pm. That means the incision won't happen before 00:30am.

23:50 - I arrive at the hospital to change into clean scrubs, prep some dry ice for samples and start the paperwork.

00:18 - I head down to the OR to check on the progress. They are just finishing the echo and still have to place the radial line.

00:37 - Incision. I draw two purple tops and collect 10cc of urine. I leave the OR and head to the lab to centrifuge the samples and put them on dry ice.

01:26 - Back in the OR to observe

02:51 - Anhepatic phase begins. This is when the patient is no longer connected to his old liver and not yet connected to the new one. I draw samples and put them on ice to process later.

03:29 - Reperfusion. This is when the new liver is connected and circulation through the liver is restored. All the preservatives and biochemical waste from the new liver cause the patients heart to struggle briefly. When well-managed and with a little luck this can be short-lived and uneventful. Tonight, reperfusion goes smoothly.

03:59 - I draw samples and bring them and the pre-reperfusion samples up to the lab to process. Sometimes I stay in the OR until close, but tonight I'm hoping to catch a few hours sleep before class. If the close is within two hours of my shift ending, I will be able to draw the closing samples and leave. If not, I will have to stay until 2 hours post-op.

04:40 - The surgeons have closed, the operation is complete. This was a very short surgery, which is good for the patient, but bad for me. I now have to stay until 6:40 to do the 2 hour post-op samples.

04:50 - Follow the patient up to the SICU to get immediate post-op samples. Run back to the lab to finish processing samples already collected.

05:30 - Email an update about the surgery and schedule for post-operative draws through POD4 to the research group.

06:30 - Head over to the SICU to check in with the nurse and get the 2 hour draw.

06:45 - Head back to the lab to leave the samples on ice (the girl coming in at 7 will process it), head home to catch a three hour nap before class at 11.

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