Diagnostic Labs

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Monday, April 30th, 2007 On the first floor of Mott
Today I spent most of my time walking around the hospital with Mrs. M and some students. In the end, I was left with Cami, a senior from Huron. We saw a guy who was in First Days in a pediatric ICU area (at least it looked like it because there were about 30 machines on ONE child that had a lot of flashing and blinking lights.) Mrs. Malette wanted me to see if I could shadow him, but he seemed really busy on the phone, so we just left and went down to the first floor of Mott.
I exited the elevators and noticed that there was hardly any chaos. We opened a random door (it seemed like anyone could just open it… okay, the door wasn’t really random, but it felt random to me). There inside a lady sat in front of a computer (from what I could see from afar). After Mrs. Malette asked if we could sit there for half hour (we got there around 9:45am and had to leave around 10:15am). The lady said we could stay (yay, the day wasn’t wasted after all!).
I sat down and saw the stuff on the screen move. I saw a thin little line that wiggled around (especially near the tip). This is the deal.
Hearts don’t usually have deformities. But during the mother’s pregnancy, the heart wasn’t developed correctly. This left a huge hole in the heart in the 5 year girl on the table. Because of this hole, she had problems pumping blood to her entire body. Now, the doctors knew that this young girl had a heart problem ever since she was born. They felt that the kids can usually heal the problem on its own (by age 4, most kids can self-correct). However, since the girl still hadn’t healed, the doctors had to do something about it.
So how did they help get rid of that hole? This was the procedure. They first put the girl under anesthesia. She could still talk, but I think she fell asleep during this procedure. Anyway, they first had to put a catherder by finding the femoral vein and get the wire up to her heart via the vein (how cool is that?). On the screen, the wire had already gone up to her heart. Actually, there were two screens. One you’re looking at it shoulders forward, and the other is the sideview of the young girl. (this way you get more of a 3D view of what’s going on inside the body). Anyway, after they get it up in between the heart, they slip a wire (the other one is very thin tube that you could put something through) up inside the cath and then pull out the cath. They look at the screen to analysis if the end is in the correct spot (which seems a bit difficult because the picture isn’t exactly the most clear. I couldn’t really tell where the heart was but the lady could! I guess that’s why practice is a necessity). Next, they had to measure the size of the hole. They even had to pause for a moment, get out of the OR (I was just outside of the OR room watching in because I wasn’t ‘clean’ and have a potential of spreading bateria), took OUT a measurement tape and measured it right on the screen!! Wow… and I thought that technology would be more up to date. I know in the ultrasound area, you can just click one place to another and voila, you got a measurement. You would think that in a OR area that they would have similar ideas or things. But no… they have to actually measure it themselves!!! AND THEN type in the measurement that they just got (that was very shocking a weird for me). He even used a calculator to convert. So much for having modern technology… Well, anyway, the measurements are to make sure the size of the balloon is correct. The balloon is to block off the hole in the heart (the doctors assume that the heart’s hole will not grow any larger after this point and that the heart will just heal and scar around this balloon). After knowing the measurements, the doctors create the balloon that’s custom for her (kinda neat, eh?). After that, they put the balloon in. Oh man, I forgot one essential step…. they first put CONTRAST in (or in lay terms, dye) to see the area of the hole (that is how they measured it). THEN the doctors put the wire in, and then the balloon go through that. They have a release like thing and it looked like it just blew around. It finally settled and it looked like a space probe thing (interesting). After that, they put the cath back on, the wire out, and lastly the cath out. Of course, it wasn’t like boom boom boom! They had to spend enough time to make sure that the young girl doesn’t get hurt and other pokes occur.
Some would think that the young girl was weak and almost dying. But that apparently wasn’t the case. She loved to talk and was very outgoing. It amazes me how even the best of us can get hurt and end up on the OR table. So not everyone in the hospital is classified as this weak and almost gone human… it’s more like the hospital is full of great people who may have a little problem. With health care providers, it should help make people’s lives the best it can possibly be. This was a lot to learn to see in a half hour time slot, but it was a great opportunity to learn a lot. Oh, also after the doctor came out to make the measurements, the doctor to had to scrub himself clean again (with this yellow stuff).
Overall, though it was short, it was an eye opening experience.

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