O&G: Sunday On Call

J. was “on call” on Sunday, even though strictly medical students have no duties in the hospital. Our responsibility is to ourselves (to learn) and to the patients (not to disturb them too much). But mostly ourselves. The bulk of the time was spent in the delivery suite (D/S) where hopefully we would get to see and perform normal vaginal deliveries (+/- episiotomy, +/- epidural anaesthesia).

J. and Je managed to watch one delivery in 24 hours!

One! Over the course of 8am to 8am.

The nice, well-nourished Malay lady was the only resident case to present to the D/S. All other cases were private cases, meaning that the patients paid good money to be tended to by the consultants/senior consultants/professors instead of bumbling medical students/housemen.

Note that despite the difference in paying class, medical students’ observation and learning still relies on patients’ goodwill.

Private patients have a bit less goodwill.

The case itself, however, was an eye-opener given that the patient was primigravid (first pregnancy), naturally making her nulliparid (no previous live births). In these patients, pregnancy takes a bit longer as the body is unaccustomed.

In multiparous patients, such as the first normal vaginal delivery J. observed, labour moves along at a faster pace, with the baby emerging rapidly once crowning has occurred.

Anyway, J & Je were there, constantly checking in on the patient, helping the nurse/mid-wife steady the patient’s legs while she pushed, standing by to watch as the baby’s head emerged from the birth canal, congratulating the happy couple afterwards. It was a joy.

Pity the rest of the call was dull as mud.

Much time was spent eating, watching television, studying, doing case write-ups and finally at night, sleeping. Fortunate, in a way, for there was the usual Q&A session at 7.30am in the morning, which J. passed with reasonable ease.

Ah well. Given the friendliness of the D/S staff, the comfort of the place, the presence of television, easy access to food at Kopitiam and 7-Eleven, J.’s foresight to bring hot chocolate, it felt like a holiday chalet, just with more screaming, crying, blood and placenta.


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