Friday, April 12, 2013

1 Week ENT.

Well I'm back to "work". Had a week of ENT...which has been fairly uneventful. Went to a few adult and children ear/head/neck clinics. The clinics actually run quite quickly, but I'm not sure if it is because the surgeons are efficient or the cases in general are more simple. Think it is the former. Anyways it has been a fairly frustrating placement. Because it is half-term, a lot of the consultants are away so a lot of clinics/theatre lists are cancelled. Obviously being a medical student, we don't get told about the schedule changes, so we don't find out until we get to clinic/theatre. Just one of those skills you need as a student: Adaptation. Need to be able to think on your feet and figure out what are you going to do with your time. I found myself running between hospitals quite a bit - I guess it's a good workout! Absolute pain though.

To be entirely honest - my impression of ENT surgeons before I started the placement was: "a bunch of arrogant surgeons". I am so glad I was proven wrong. They were all really nice and are really keen to teach. Don't know where did I get that impression from. Then again most impressions/stereotypes are no longer accurate. One thing I will admit is that the surgeries that ENT surgeons do are remarkable and beautiful. So delicate and intricate, but it works! I assisted in a myringoplasty and laryngectomy. Just amazing. Myringoplasty is where a perforation in the ear drum is replaced by a graft which you get from the fascia lying over the skull. Everything is done under a microscope. Admittedly my eyes were hurting after, but it was quite a beautiful surgery. They work in such a small space and still manage to do it with a lot of precision. Also watching them place a graft over the perforation and finding ways to support the graft while it heals with the rest of the ear drum...just can't describe it in words. Whoever thought up of these surgeries - genius. On the other hand - laryngectomy - massive incision requiring neck dissection. Saw so much great anatomy. Also got to scrub in and close up in the end (after hours of retracting). This surgery showed me why some people absolutely dread surgery. Never understood it until that day. My hands were cramping so much that I couldn't feel them anymore at one point. Guess my reward in the end was closing up. Suturing will always make a keen medical student's (interested in surgery) day better. Got to learn a new type of suturing technique, which is quite challenging. Took a few goes for me to get a hang of it, but eventually I managed to get a hang of it and I don't think I did too bad. Got it checked over, and got the nod of approval. Was quite satisfied with myself!

The thing I noticed in my very short 1 week stint in ENT was that you see a lot of cancers in adults and a lot of ear infection/tonsillitis in children clinics. Such contrasting conditions. Overall the attachment was too short...but in a way I was relieved that it was over because it was so disorganized. I was really fed up with running around looking for the right clinics and going between hospitals to go to a different theatre list. Then the consultant wouldn't be expecting a student and you have to explain, etc etc. Life of a medical student!


  1. May I ask how you are assessed in these clinical years? Do you have mock patients you have to see or do you have written exams as well? And also, what made you so interested in surgery and which operation you have observed has been the most interesting to see? Thanks for another interesting post :-)

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  5. Surgeries and the human body have fascinated me, but not enough for me to want to have a job centered around them! Hearing you talk about how beautiful the surgeries are, like the myringoplasty, has me wanting to see what you mean! I'm seriously considering seeing an ENT soon because I have had a cough and post-nasal drip for weeks now. While I don't think I'll need surgery, there is something intriguing about how our ears, nose, and throat all work together.

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