Griffin’s anatomy

Olivia Griffin, Staff Reporter

It was the first Monday of Winter Break, and while most sane teenagers were taking advantage of the opportunity to catch up on sleep, I found myself spending the early hours of the morning inside the operating suite of the Medical City Dallas Hospital.

Don’t worry. I wasn’t the one on the operating table. Thankfully. Instead, I was the kid standing in the operating room, wearing blue scrubs, a surgical cap, and a surgical mask, watching a patient get their gallbladder removed (and various other surgeries during the course of the three days). In a room of experienced surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, and scrub techs, I was a young sixteen-year-old whose only surgical expertise came from watching House.

I was there to learn about surgeries and the medical profession, and this experience would allow me to have a real-life experience that would hopefully help prepare me for a future in medicine.

The representation of the operating room on TV shows is slightly off. So to clarify, let me explain a few things. First of all, the operating room is not a darkly lit, freezing cold room. It is painted solid white, filled with high-tech instruments and equipment, and finally, the surgeon needs plenty of light to see what he is doing. Also, the OR temperature depends on the staff’s preference, and the idea that the cold air temperature helps to kill germs is a complete myth.

If you are currently thinking that I am completely out of my mind and that this is completely gross, then let me explain. Honestly, I went in expecting to be a little grossed out by seeing the blood and guts, but as soon as the surgery started, being creeped out never crossed my mind – I was just so fascinated in the anatomy and pathology.

Over the course of the three days, I saw a laparoscopic cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal), a hernia repair, a thyroidectomy (thyroid removal), laparoscopic gastric bypass (a relatively well known surgery used as a last resort for obese patients – a portion of the stomach is removed to reduce appetite and calorie intake), and the invasive removal of tumors from the stomach.

The most difficult part of being in a hospital environment, more difficult than seeing graphic and gory surgeries, is some of the sad things that you see. Each morning, in order to get to the surgical department, I would have to walk through the Children’s Hospital.

There, I would see children in wheelchairs, children suffering from severe disabilities, and young children, possibly no more than 5 or 6, being wheeled away to the operating room. It really put things into perspective – every time that I am frustrated because I got the flu again, or worried because I have to get another shot, I realize that my problems are miniscule compared to some of the difficult things other kids are dealing with, like cancer and disabilities.

So, I’m sure that you are all wondering one thing: Well, does she still want to be a doctor? Does she want to be a surgeon now? Before this surgical observation, I wasn’t super interested in being a surgeon. But now, I find it completely fascinating, and perhaps it may be a possibility for me one day.