I'm really enjoying being a senior resident. This month I'm mentoring our medical students, and it's been loads of fun so far.
Today we had a "simple" laceration that needed closing. Typically this is the medical student's job, since the residents have traumas and coding patients to take care of. I sent Medical Student to sew up the lac, but two minutes later he came out of the room, pale-faced and nervous.
"Dr. Zac... I took off this guy's pressure dressing and he's kind of... bleeding out from his wound. Like, sort of spurting blood. Kind of everywhere. I think I need help."
I'm a pretty laid-back guy, but years of emergency training have instilled a GO switch in me. I immediately popped in the room. Sure enough, this guy was hemorrhaging blood from multiple severed arteries in his leg. I grabbed Med Student's gloved hand and shoved it in the wound.
"You feel where that's pulsing? I want you to keep your fingers right there and hold pressure. I'll be right back."
There are varying degrees of emergency; this is one that can be fatal if left unchecked. I ran out of the room, grabbing the necessary equipment and sutures. Med Student seemed quite relieved when I returned. Quickly I tied off the bleeding arteries while explaining what I was doing (throw your stitch under the artery, loop back around again, and tie it off. This is called a figure-of-eight suture and it will save your ass in a pinch). Within a minute I had the bleeding stopped. Med Student appeared impressed.
Suddenly, it was a simple laceration repair again. I supervised him closing the wound with little teaching points along the way, and to his credit, he did a fantastic job. It will look great when it heals.
The patient's wife pulled me aside later. "Doc, you really seem like a fantastic teacher. We were both so reassured that you were there. Thank you so much for taking such great care of us!"
It was a great day, and it's been a wonderful month so far. If the rest of my life is like this, I'll be a very happy physician.