On the last day of my shadowing experience with Dr. Sher and his PA’s, I had the opportunity to visit the OR personally to experience two types of surgeries, open inguinal hernia repairs and cholecystectomies (which is otherwise known as gallbladder removal surgery). It was an eye opening experience that had also clued into the extensive administrative work associated with the medical field.
Hernia repairs generally fall under the two categories of open repair and minimally invasive (laparoscopic). In open repair, the surgeon cuts open the area, pushes the bulge back in, and sews up the weakened muscle, sometimes with synthetic mesh for reinforcement (which is known as hernioplasty). Minimally invasive repair, on the other hand, is usually done with a laparoscope where one incision is made. Seeing an open repair in person, along with shadowing the doctor through pre and post consultations really clarified the entire process that a patient goes through! It was also fascinating to learn about the different types of hernias, the reasoning behind causation and why it could be dangerous to leave it alone.
For the second procedure, I noted that patients that had cholecystectomies were mostly pushed under the circumstances caused by gallstones, which are these stone and sediment like deposits that form from bile. It was quite interesting to see the removal in person and to feel the gallbladder full of stones, which in the two procedures I got to witness, ranged from tiny granules to one the size of a quail egg. I remembered how amazed I was to see the doctors differentiate the different areas of muscles, ducts, and arteries so quickly in order to ensure that they do not incise the wrong area during removal.
One particular administrative event that I noted was the first few minutes before surgery in which the RN would hold up the color-coded sign to the security camera in the room whilst reading out the associated information of the patient, the legality/oath, and procedure that was to be completed. Which made me wonder if this was to ensure that the correct procedure was performed on the correct patient.
Overall, the entire experience had definitely solidified my goal of heading into the medical field, and opened up the specialization of surgery, which is something I had never really considered to be something that I would enjoy. The shadowing experience has also taught me alot of life lessons in planning preparation and decision making which I will definitely hold onto moving forward.