Remember those first few days where none of us had internet at Olin Hall? I was just in the same scenario when I got back to Ithaca--having to wait for the Time Warner Cable guy to show up to my apartment. Anyway...
My last week of the summer immersion was spent working on my project on carotid endarterectomies (CEA), which I described in an earlier blog. We are trying to find differences in outcomes between men and women who have this procedure performed, most importantly during peri-op. We are also looking to see which treatment is better for men or women: CEA or carotid stenting (CAS). So far I've pulled up data and charts on over 100 patients and have them organized in a ginormous spreadsheet. I've also quantified the number of men and women had complications after their respective operations. I now just have to do some statistical analysis and then you'll get to see my results in my presentation in September.
Other than working on the project, I visited the OR and saw two surgeries. One I've already seen so I won't describe that, but the other was a fem-fem bypass. In this procedure, a graft is placed between the two femoral arteries so that blood from the healthy femoral artery can reach the unhealthy artery. It was a very straightforward procedure. Dr. Vouyouka and her fellow cut open both groins and then "tunneled" underneath the belly. A graft was threaded through this tunnel and then sewed onto both femoral arteries.
I also followed Dr. Vouyouka and a cardiothoracic resident by the name of John around the Cornell Surgical Associates clinic. There weren't that many interesting cases, mainly because I've seen most everything. It just shows that in all of six weeks I've learned an enormous amount about the clinic and various vascular diseases and procedures to diagnose and treat those diseases. Dr. Vouyouka treated me to breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien on the final day of the immersion term and we said our goodbyes. She said she knows that I have no intention of ever becoming a medical doctor, and she is 100% correct in her assessment.
In the end, I believe I've experienced something very unique. I finally got to see what it is like to be the doctor and not the patient. I've learned an incredible amount of clinical knowledge, and maybe one day this knowledge will help me develop novel research questions. One thing is for sure--I will have fond memories of the NY Presbyterian hospital. Many thanks to all those involved in making this summer possible.