MEDLINK – Day 1

Medlink Conference – Day 1     Venue: University of Nottingham    


Surgery

I attended a lecture on surgery which was presented by a neonatal surgeon. I was rather intrigued to learn about the history of surgery and that it was first introduced in Britain in 900AD, but much earlier in other places. I also learnt about the importance of speed when conducting surgical procedures in the past due to no anaesthesia and the risk of infection. This allowed me to be able to truly value the extent of which modern medicine has transformed our lives as today we are able to conduct survey lasting several hours. I was also really inspired by a quote from John Hunter which surgery mentioned during the lecture. The lecturer referred to him as ‘the father of clinical surgery’ and his quote was: “Surgeons tend to forget that they are not masters, but merely servants.” I found this to be truly inspiring as it applies to the Medical profession as a whole: doctors have a duty to serve, listen to and respect their patients. I was able to reflect on the true role of being a doctor and submitting yourself to the needs of society and this created a purely compassionate and beautiful image in my mind.

From this lecture I was also able to reflect on the beauty of such intricate procedures that must be performed correctly within surgery, it’s almost like an art form in which every movement just be done wholeheartedly, with love and precision. One of the things which I learnt was the fact that Medicine is a very precise and remarkable career: in the field of surgery every last knot has to be completed correctly. If it’s not, in an artery it can cause a haemorrhage and result in death. You can never afford to have a ‘bad day’ or be lazy with any time you spend with a patient. The true reality of a doctor is to genuinely care and want to help others whenever possible. The Golden Hour is a specific example of the significance of the level of care a doctor is able to deliver as if the correct measures are taken within this hour it will lead to the optimal results for a patient after trauma. The surgeon presenting the lecture mentioned the ABCD rule when dealing with a patient who has suffered a traumatic accident:

  • Airway
  • Breathing
  • Circulation
  • Disability

I was also made aware of some of the latest advances in surgical Medicine, including Endoscopy, NOTES (Natural Orifice Transluminal Endoscopic Surgery) and robots. NOTES is a very modern form of surgery in which there are no incisions made on the patient, I thought this was a rather amazing advancement and this progress will have the ability to transform surgery in the future. I was also able to reflect on some of the advantages of using robots for surgery as they will be able to make very small incisions and will be very steady handed, unlike a person who may tremble if they get nervous. I thought it was quite remarkable to learn that General Surgery isn’t needed as much as endoscopy can just be used instead.

Finally, I was also able to reflect on some of the qualities you will need as a surgeon, and general by pursuing a career in Medicine: cognition, perception, communication, mental, physical and emotional stamina, compassion, dexterity and to be a team player.


Paediatrics

Intellectually challenging. Immensely varied. Incredibly rewarding…are some of the ways in which a career within Paediatrics was described. I learnt about some of the challenges that come with working with young children, even the simplest of things such as noting symptoms in order to make a diagnosis can be very difficult for a Paediatrician as the story must be taken from a third perspective from the parents rather than the patient themselves. The parent may not be able to create an accurate picture or may have misunderstood the way their child is feeling which would mean that as a Paediatrician you must have the skills to be able to consider these factors when making a diagnosis or prescribing any medicine.

I was already aware of the significance of teamwork between different healthcare professionals within the NHS in order to provide efficient care for patients, but I also learnt about the role of a Play Therapist specifically on the children’s ward. They will be able to judge a child’s visual and auditory abilities and may hear or notice certain things from a patient which they would then be able to inform the doctor of. The child may also tell them certain things which they would not tell the doctor, so its important to value them as this could help the doctor to efficiently care for the child.

I was able to gain an insight into some childhood conditions and see case studies of children who suffered from these conditions such as twin-to-twin transfusions; congenital abnormalities, such as a hole in the diaphragm when the child is born which causes the bowel to move into the chest cavity. Another type is when the bowel is outside, the evaporation of water is very rapid and it can be dangerous to lose so much fluid. In order to deal with this, a microenvironment will have to be created and surgery conducted quickly. I also listened to a child with whooping cough and was shown how a Paediatrician would be able to recognise this condition just be listening before having take a record of any symptoms. These case studies really affected me as they demonstrated the true reality of a career within Paediatrics. I was able to learn and understand that this type of career isn’t about seeing happy children, but ones who are severely ill, therefore it demands a high level of emotional resilience. It is also difficult as you are not jus dealing with the patient, but also parents who have high expectations and will be distraught and hold you responsible if their child doesn’t survive.


General Practice

I was already aware that General Practice is one of the most exhausted services on the NHS, but even so, I was shocked to learn that 1 million consultations take place everyday. Another statistic which really surprised me was that 90% of health problems are managed entirely by GP, but GP only receives 9% of the NHS budget. This made me understand the need for efficiency and dedication whilst playing any role within the NHS as the jobs are difficult and money cannot be wasted unnecessarily. After this lecture I am also able to reflect on the significance of recognising that every medical condition has physical as well as psychological symptoms, which as a doctor you must be able to consider. The GP who was presenting the lecture emphasised in the importance of this and he said that sometimes doctors examine patients just for their benefit and so they feel content rather than to make a diagnosis.

I am also able to reflect on General Practice providing Productive Preventative Care and catching signs early in order to actively manage a potential illness and reduce certain risks. I am able to appreciate that there’s always risks, uncertainty and complexity when treating patients from a doctor’s perspective. Sometimes you will have to take the risk and manage the uncertainty by providing time and holding regular check ups to control the symptoms. I’ve learnt that general practitioners hold a lot of responsibility as they are trusted by the community. They must also consider Hollistic Medicine (physical, social and psychological) as a significant part of their role. As well as just general treatment, general practitioners also provide emergency care by contacting various members of the healthcare team if they believe a patient has a serious condition which must be dealt with urgently. The lecturer mentioned the case of a patient who came to his surgery and the d other realised that he needed emergency surgery or else he would die. In this situation, it was important that the doctor didn’t panic the patient but was able to quickly arrange for an ambulance and an emergency operation.

Another type of care that doctors who work in a General Practice deal with are multiple mobility issues. This is when one main problem causes several other symptoms which must also be identified and managed, for example, the main issue of obesity could cause type 2 diabetes, pains and also breathing problems. This automatically makes this case much more complicated as multiple issues must be dealt with. As well as all this, I am also able to understand that GPs are involved in Population Health in ways such as immunisation programmes and have the responsibility to ensure that one person with a certain condition isn’t harming the rest of the community as a result. I think this a very big responsibility to have, as your duty is beyond just the individual patient and really made me think about the consequences bad care could have, not just on one person, but on many.

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