The Time I Hesitated

One night when I was the night trauma chief, I hear overhead: “Code blue, medical ICU. Code blue.” Code blue means that a patient has gone into cardiopulmonary arrest (or is dangerously close). Fortunately, surgeons are not part of the response team, so I only respond when it’s one of our patients. Since we didn’t have any…

A Flaw in Cancer Care That Surgery Residents Know All Too Well

Mrs. Liu, who was only 58 years old, had metastatic ovarian cancer. Despite radical surgery and chemotherapy, her disease persisted. Worse yet, her PET scan from a few months ago revealed that she had carcinomatosis—numerous deposits of cancer showered throughout her abdomen. This particular night, she starting having more nausea and couldn’t eat or drink…

Saying No to Surgery Residents

A few months ago, I got the dreaded 2 AM consult from the emergency department. I met Mr. Smith, a man with a very strange looking and inflamed gallbladder. The abnormal appearance on ultrasound meant we had to discuss the possibility of malignancy. Instead of the usual 15 minute spiel about removing the gallbladder, I…

Antibiotics or Surgery for Appendicitis, An Unfair Choice For Patients (Right Now)

Antibiotics (without surgery) for appendicitis is the latest trending topic in surgery. Despite the fact that research is still ongoing, many surgeons are jumping to offer antibiotics as an alternative to surgery for appendicitis.  We know that an antibiotics-only approach is still quasi-experimental. Because we cannot be confident that antibiotics is effective long-term, some surgeons choose to offer both options…