Pinned toot

I am Black, queer, nonbinary, & an unabashed people person. MD/PhD student in NYC; trying to escape with my sanity & ethics intact. Learning to value kindness over cleverness.

Lots of boosts & personal posts here; to be forewarned is to be forearmed.

Listing some things I like until I reach the character limit: tarot, storytelling, video games, worldbuilding, non-vocal music, sci-fi/fantasy (esp from people often erased from our vision of the future), plants, & you (probably).

I'm really tired so the only update I'm giving today is that surgery is really fuckin gross

I'm super exhausted, but today was really cool. I like my team, and I have a better sense of what my role is. I do a lot of setting up, holding instruments, cutting sutures, etc. They also taught me how to do sutures that don't leave scars in laproscopic surgeries, so that'll be my job once I get a little better at it!

All in all, a good day.

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I also was taught that the stomachs of obese people have been stretched out. But no, that’s not true either. Dr. X made it a point to show me that the stomach was normal sized, and that it’s a myth that obese people just have grossly huge stomachs.

My job for the next few days will be tracking Patient X (the one who received the sleeve gastrectomy) and making sure that she’s healing well. When our team does rounds in the morning, I’ll be presenting her to the team.

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Dr. X also taught me some things that I didn’t know about bariatric surgery. I’d learned a really fatphobic version of what bariatric surgery was -- that you shrink the stomach so that people who would normally overeat aren’t able to because their stomachs are too small. But actually, the part of the stomach they remove is also the part that makes ghrelin, the hormone that makes you feel hungry. (!)

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My surgery team is really cool -- the head doctor is called an attending, and from here on out, I’ll be calling my attending Dr. X. He’s pretty chill, but part of his job as attending is to quiz residents and med students. Today, he quizzed me on the anatomy of what we’re seeing, and to see how well I'd prepared for surgery today. I’d prepped for the hernias beforehand, so I was able to answer most of his questions about those, but I was a bit more lost about the sleeve gastrectomy.

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Laproscopic surgeries are really cool because since there are fewer incisions, these are generally easier to heal from and they don’t leave big scars.

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And in this view, you can see that the surgeons are all looking at a video camera in the abdomen to do the surgery.

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Not sure I’m explaining that super well so here’s a picture. (Obvi not mine, as I’m not allowed to take photos in the OR)

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We did three surgeries today -- two hernia repairs and one bariatric sleeve gastrectomy. (basically removing a large part of the stomach).

Two of these surgeries were laparoscopic surgeries. In a laparoscopic surgery, you make really small incisions on the abdomen and stick hollow tubes into them. Then you stick a camera through one of the tubes (so you can see what’s happening under the skin), and use very instruments with long handles to do the whole surgery under the skin.

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Okay so first off, there is simultaneously more and less blood than I was envisioning. When you first cut through skin, there’s a lot of blood, and it stays around. until the end of the surgery. But once you’re through the skin, the inside of the human body is remarkably blood-free.

Also! We used scalpels to make the first few incisions, but after that, we did most of the cutting with a cauterizing pen -- an instrument that simultaneously cuts and uses heat to burn the cuts closed.

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It was a light day, with no surgeries scheduled for today. But! I did get a chance to practice my sutures! (see photo)

I'll be scrubbing in on 3 surgeries tomorrow, which is very exciting! Talk to you all then, when I'll hopefully have more interesting updates.


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I then went to “conference”, which today was just a didactic session given by one of the medical trainees to the other surgical teams, about 20 people total. Today the chief resident presented information about severe constipation, non-surgical treatments for it, and then if it persists and is bad enough, the best surgeries to correct constipation. (Still no other Black or Latino medical trainees.)


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I rounded with about 10 residents and med students. All of the residents on my team were women, which is very non-traditional for surgery!

There were no other Black and no Latino residents/med students, which is more traditional for surgery lol (and for medicine in general, tbh).


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Today was my first day on the wards! Here’s how it went.

I got to the hospital at 6:30. (From here on out, I’ll be getting to the hospital a bit earlier than this to check on whichever patients I’ve been assigned.) I met the members of my surgical team that I’ll be a part of for the next 4 weeks, and we went on rounds. Rounds consists of visiting all the patients on our roster, checking their wounds, changing dressings, etc.


. . . .but also as my own form of accountability, to ensure that I recognize when fucky things happen, to remind myself of my responsibility to act, and to try to ensure that I don't become complicit.

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I study at a hospital that is notoriously racist and has been sued multiple times for racial segregation of medical care.

I'll be posting about my experiences on the surgery rotation (and probably throughout the rest of my clinical training) partially to shed some light on an area of medicine that's a black box to many people . . . . . .

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I'm starting my surgery rotation today!

I'm very likely not going to become a surgeon, so this is going to be one of my only chances to be in an Operating Room and take care of patients in a surgical context.

Medicine is a very problematic field that intersects with racism, sexism, classism, etc. I'm going to be posting about my experiences and also about some of my cases (obviously in a depersonalized and non-identifying format with details changed to protect patient identity).

the singular exception to this is DARK, which is a fucking masterpiece.

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