As interns at the Hospital Pediatrico del Nino Jesus, we were given the opportunity to work a 12 hour shift in the Guardia (ER) any week day night we pleased. Our coordinators encouraged us to do this shift at some point of our internship because we would be able to see all of the “good stuff” and “crazy cases.” In essence, they meant we would see a lot more unusual cases. Stefanie and I believed we couldn’t miss out on this opportunity and signed up for a Thursday night shift. The night began with us watching a San Lorenzo futbol game (coincidently against Bolivar) with people from the program and one of our local Cordoba friends, Nahuel. We then left early to catch dinner at a cafe since it was going to be a long night. We then took the bus to the hospital to start our 12 hour shift at 8 pm.
When we got there it was definitely more busy than I last remembered. There were 3 doctors bringing patient after patient in and a lobby full of children and parents.
For the most part, kids were coming in for respiratory problems such as excessive coughing, difficulty breathing and such. Most of these children were diagnosed with asthma, bronchitis, After about 2 hours of constant check-ups, 4 residents came in after eating their dinner in the workroom. They then took over for the doctors and saw patients one by one. One of the interesting cases I got to see was a baby about a month old coming in for a seizure episode. Unfortunately when something like this happens to an infant its more difficult to diagnose since that child can’t verbalize what they feel or what they remember. However the nurses were quick to attend to her and hook her up to machines to read and see any unusual recordings in order to keep her in a monitored stabilized state.
I believe the hardest thing to watch that night was this patient. She was tiny and I was told she was born premature (a premi) which explained her size and complications. Watching the nurses insert an IV was impactful. Her arm was no wider then a narrow tube and the nurses had a difficult time doing so. The other aspect of this interaction that was difficult to swallow was the desperation her young mother displayed. She would constantly shed a tear while the doctors broke the news that the child would have to be interned and then she would sit in a corner and keep her eyes stuck on her child being surrounded by numerous medics. It was at this moment I got to see in practice the role of a pediatrician. That as a pediatrician you’re not only dealing with a single patient rather two or even three, the child’s parents. I was warned that as a pediatrician some of your job revolves more around having the parents feel free from anxiety than the own patient’s condition. It was at this moment when I was able to visualize this advice.
On a lighter note, the child was in good hands and so were the other patients. As the night progressed, there were less and less patients waiting in the lobby since most were attended early on. At some point all of us went in the breakroom to celebrate one of the residents last day. The doctors had bought champagne and various chocolates to share to commemorate her time there as a resident. When we finished we headed back to attend the few patients left. And when all was said and done, the residents took turn sleeping for 2 hours. I had my turn at around 6 am in the last part of the shift.
It was apparent the rooms were made just for sleeping since they not were aesthetically pleasing much, which makes a lot of practical sense. If the beds were comfortable, I’m sure many of the residents would sleep for longer than a couple of hours haha.
Overall, I’m extremely grateful for this experience. I got to witness firsthand a day in the life of a resident. And even though the rooms were kind of shabby, the hospital still looked gorgeous at night and there wasn’t anywhere else I’d be happier to spend the night.
And even though Stefanie and I slept before our shift…we passed out the next day. Nonetheless it was completely worth it and I would do it all over again 🙂