Caesarean Sections

I officiated the first C-section for the year 2011 at my hospital today. Well, that can’t be helped when you’re put on call for the 1st and 2nd of January.

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C-sections. I don’t like them. It’s messy, it’s bloody and sometimes it can be too complicated. Actually.. that description goes about for everything in O&G anyway. It’s mostly about the blood… and sometimes the babies. But mostly blood.

I remember observing my first C-sections as a medical student in Batu Pahat Hospital. We had to fill up our quotas of procedures seen, assisted and done and one of which included assisting C-sections. Because we were only medical students and were a grade lower than the house-officers, we could only scrub in as 2nd assistants and stand beside the surgeon. It was a pretty boring place to be. You’re barely near the surgical field and your job was mostly to hold the bladder blade (and that’s if you actually get to hold it!). I remember my gloves would be absolutely clean after the procedure and so to make me ‘look’ a little more useful than that, I’d sometimes try to grab hold of the placenta just to dirty my gloves a little. I know. Pretty stupid. But being medical students make you feel a little stupid at times… like an out-of-place life form in the arena of medical personnel.

It was a whole different game play when you’re upgraded to a house-officer. It starts off with actually learning to assist and that should happen during your tagging period. When I was first told that I needed to learn to assist, I was a little surprised and could not imagine how difficult would it be to assist a surgical procedure. Gosh, was I wrong. There were all these maneuvers and movements that the assistant needed to know to support and facilitate the surgeon when cutting certain tissues. It was like a little dance we needed to familiarize ourselves with, guided by the surgeon. Now, what made it a little more complicated was that different surgeons have their little different dance style. Worse, there were some medical officers who wouldn’t want a freshie house-officer to assist them. Fortunately, one gets a little better at it (just assisting, I meant), and who wouldn’t if one has to assist Caesars the entire night, one case after another, until one’s eyes cannot stay open any longer and is soon found nodding off while retracting the bladder.

I never liked O&G as a house officer and found myself so disinterested that I wasn’t quite bothered to know what was going on in the surgery and how to perform C-sections. In fact, a kind medical officer asked if I wanted to try my hand in performing one, but I humbly rejected the offer. I told myself that all I needed to master was the art of assisting it so as to pass through my O&G posting successfully. Just enough to get by as a house-officer.

But I was dead wrong. Life does give you unexpected turns. The first horrific thought that came in my mind when I was told that I was sent to the O&G Department as a medical officer were about the C-sections. How in the world was I suppose to learn that bloody (no pun intended) procedure? I could never!

But I had to. And so I did. Slowly. Fortunately.. oh-so-thankfully, one can get better at it. My gosh, I can remember the very first C-section I did at Sungai Buloh. My hands would not stop trembling, as much as I tried. Actually, even until today, I still get that fine tremors in my hands right after delivering the baby. Not good when one needs to close the uterus up fast. Oh what a horrid feeling!

This is it. I hope that I will not have to learn anymore than this. This is the most that I would give to O&G’s work.. up until knowing how to perform Caesarean sections.

Ladies, trust me in this. You wouldn’t want a C-section when delivering your baby. We will save all those gruesome facts for another day, shall we?

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