Saturday, April 02, 2005

A day in the life of a Bulgarian medical student

The grossest thing I’ve ever seen.

I was a student in the medical faculty and we had a lesson on surgery. The doctor teaching us, a young and ambitious woman, took us into a small room in the Septic Department. There was only one bed. It was a hot summer day and although the window was open – the air was heavy and full of odour. Thirteen students were crowded around the patient in about 2 or 3 square metres. It was a 36 year-old man, blond, handsome and intelligent. He was alert, leaning his back on 2-3 pillows. The doctor took off the bed sheet covering his body in order to show us . . . Oh my God – his abdominal wall was open and full of yellowish creamy material. She quickly explained that he was a teacher of English language, a diabetic who underwent a cholecystectomy and as a complication of his diabetes he developed septic peritonitis and his operative wound was not able to heal. To prove that it was thick puss, our surgeon, using a special sterile instrument, entered the abdominal cavity and took out some puss.

I felt horrified. I imagined that I had an open abdomen . . . One of our colleagues asked me if I was OK. ‘Yes’, I replied. But he interrupted the teacher informing her that I looked very pale. She ordered me to go out.

What I remember is that I went out . . .

I don’t know after how long I found myself on a stretcher, with a drip and some doctors and students asking a female patient if I had hurt my head when I had fallen. After the drip finished I was advised to go outside the department and wait until the lesson finished.

I sat on a bench next to the outside door so I wouldn’t miss my group. After a few minutes a family came out carrying a discharged male patient who had both his legs amputated. I burst out crying. I couldn’t stand the others suffering. I was in doubt as to whether I should continue to study.

At this moment my colleagues came out. They looked worried. They wondered what had happened, seeing me crying. When they heard, they laughed.

Sue Dyakova
FCE preparation

1 comment:

Mrs Alea said...

Poor Susie, but seeing you now as a doctor and mother, I wonder how you could ever doubt your strength. You are doing a wonderful job so keep up the good work and it’s nice to see a doctor who has emotions.