I’m coming to the end of my week-long observership at St. Thomas Hospital in London, UK. I’m under the direction of Dr. Simon Redwood, consultant in interventional cardiology at St. Thomas. He’s a tall fella, over 6’2, cheerful and quite pleasant. Here’s how my week’s been:
Day 1: Met with Kate, Dr. Redwood’s secretary, who helped me with the necessary paperwork to get me settled. My St. Thomas badge says “Honorary Clinical Observer”. Haha. She’s quite a nice girl. I ended up going around the ward w/ Dr. Pink in the afternoon and ended the day early.
Day 2: Morning out patient clinic with Dr. Tijani Abdulal, a cardiac registrar who works under Dr. Redwood. We saw about 6 patients. Dr. Tijani (all the doctors are referred to on a first name basis here, which is quite refreshing and different) was very patient and attentive to his patients. He spoke slowly, was very caring, with a subdued (and thus very british) sense of humor. I was very impressed by him. He also kept teaching as I observed him, likely because St. Thomas is a teaching hospital, but also because that just seems to be the way he is – always helpful. When I saw him later on in the day, or on other days, he would make conversation, teach me other things that we were watching, just always making sure that I was learning every minute. I am so grateful.
Day 3: Spent the day in the cath lab, watching angioplasty procedures and graft screens (to see if steints and grafts are working properly). I really need to brush up on my cardiophysiology and anatomy. I can’t name all the blood vessles of the heart yet and if I had known, watching the procedures would have been even more beneficial. Dr. Redwood’s several registrar’s, Dr. Tijanji, Dr, V. Perera, all did the diff. procedures, they took turns it seemed. Anyway, I found when Dr. Tijanni did the procedures, he explained them as he did ‘e, so I got so much more out of watching his procedures. AND he actually remembered my name! haha. The last procedure was over 3 hours long, it was some retrograde thing where they were checking for a blocked area of the coronary vessles, but coming from the circumflex arteries. Anyway, they had a specialist coming in elsewhere, and Dr. Redwood even scrubbed in to do the procedure, but they still couldn’t do the procedure entirely as planned. The patient’s vessles were just too convoluted and tortuous. I got home at 7:00pm after starting the day at 8:00am. Very long day. I was exhausted.
Day 4:Dr. Redwood and Dr. Perera’s off. We were told to find Dr. Santosh to follow him on morning rounds at 8am. We found him, but he rushed rounds and it realy wasn’t too helpful because he didn’t have time to really teach. Then we met up with Hannah, a 3rd year med. student @ King’s Med School who was just going around with Jacquelin, another med student. So me and Ondre followed them on the wards. Dr. Tijani explained to the students which patients to go see, to listen for cool things. He’s so helpful. So we had 3 patients that we could listen for murmurs from. So we found ’em and checked ’em out. It was very very cool. It was my first time listening to murmurs and Jacqueline also explained to me how to check for aortic versus mitral murmurs, and how to differentiate btwn aortic stenosis or regurgitation. We then followed them to an X-ray lecture where they reviewed some x-rayslides and just tried to diagnoise. Overall, it was a very productive and interesting morning. It was also nice to just chat w/ Jacqueline and Hannah to learn about their experiences at King’s. And it was funny because one of the patients who was very cheerful and agreed to let us listen to his chest, kept telling us how important bedside manner is, and said that everyone @ St. Thomas’ had such good manners, compared to some other hospitals he’s been to. All of us weren’t too bad either. LOL. Oh, such “art”, medicine is. And J mentioned that some other med school students had some less stellar bedside manners..
Tomorrow’s my last day @ St. Thomas and I’ll be in the Cath lab again. Maybe I’ll get to see some pacemakers being put in.
My impression about London so far:
1. Buses may be faster than the subway. Especially when the subway doesn’t work and is delayed.
2. It’s annoying not to have a ‘close door’ button in the elevator – but this shows how Europeans like to take their time and ‘enjoy’ life.
3. “It’s faster to walk than to take a taxi in London” – a quote from Dr. Redwood
4. Never believe that a sunny day when u open your eyes will remain sunny by the time u’ve gotten dressed and walked outside.