First Day in the Battlefield

5:32:00 PM

I volunteered for the Ugnayan ng Pahinungod Emergency Room Volunteer Program. This program was created to help the healthcare professionals in delivering care to the ER patients. My primary goals in joining this program were to be exposed to medical procedures, to know the dynamics in the hospital and get a glimpse of what my life would be for the rest of my life. 

Last night was our (with Eric) first duty and we signed up for the Pediatric Care Unit of the Department of Emergency Medicine. We were there from 6 - 10 PM. We were nervous and confused at first because we don't know what we'll do and we were wondering if we can really help at the ER. There's the thought that we will not be able to help and we will just contribute to the congestion in ER. Upon arrival at the ER, we saw Ate Tin who is an LU5 (Integrated Clinical Clerk) student. She said that she will be on duty during that night. We were relieved and happy because Ate Tin can help us and guide us during our first duty.

We were introduced to the interns and clerks on duty during that night. They were all very nice and they taught us the basic things that we need to do when a pediatric patient arrives. They taught us how to get vital signs and basic patient history taking. Around 7:30PM, the interns and clerks on duty during daytime endorsed all the pediatric patients to the interns and clerks or the night. We joined the endorsement and we learned a lot from the residents. clerks, interns and ICCs. We went form bed to bed to discuss the cases of the patients. There were lots of medical jargon during the endorsement but the clerks and ICCs helped me understand the cases. We learned a lot from that experience, some of the things that we learned were the difference of the appearance of epidural and subdural hematoma on CT Scan and decorticate and decerebrate posturing. 

After the endorsement of the patients, Ate Tin and Kuya JP told me I can go with them during their monitoring of their patients so I joined them. Eric joined the group of Ate Joyce. Ate Tin and Kuya JP taught me how to get the vital signs from the patients. It was my first time to use the pediatric BP cuff. At first, I had a hard time listening to the Korotkoff sound of the BP apparatus so Kuya JP helped me get the BP of the patient. On my second try, I finally heard the Korotkoff sound and get the BP of the patient. It's really different when I am studying medicine in the classroom.I don't feel so enthusiastic about the topics. I appreciate the lessons, I learn a lot form the professors but I guess it's really different when you see actual patients. For me, I learned a lot and understand the topic better during ward works (Thanks Neuro module!).

A friend told me that ER is a battlefield and it's a very toxic environment. Well I guess it's really tiring to stay there. I already felt so tired after standing for only two hours and staying at the triage for another two hours. I could just imagine the exhaustion of clerks and interns who are there for longer hours. For the patients, ER is really a battlefield. It's a place where the patients fight for their life. It's a place of hope for the parents that things will get better after their stay in the hospital. For the doctors, it's a battle against the disease of their patients. They try their best to defend their patients from severe sequelae and death. For me, ER is a barracks, a training ground where I can hone my medical skills, learn from the patients and train to be a competent doctor in the future. The Filipino people, who supported me from college until now in medical school, deserve nothing less from me.

P.S. Some of the most remarkable experiences last night: It was our first time to see a case of Hirschprung's disease. We just learned that ingestion of kerosene/gas was common to pediatric patients in PGH. Coconut juice, avocado and banana, in decreasing order, are very good sources of potassium. 

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