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A bloody week back

January 17th, 2009

Since returning to Uni after the holidays we’ve been concentrating so far on haematology - the study of blood related issues. Particularly interesting were the clinical sessions on the ward. Haematology is a tricky speciality where the majority of the really common pathologies - things like anaemia - are handled in an outpatient setting. This makes it pretty difficult for us to see them and get to grips with their care.

Inpatients for haematology usually involve some sort of malignancy and it’s these patients that we’ve been concentrating on recently. Due to the set up of our sessions we have different tutors on each session with very minimal communication between tutors. This meant that we ended up bugging a poor patient twice and yet it continues to amaze me how reasonable patients are when 6 students turn up at their bedside to awkwardly look at them and ask questions. I’d certainly be fed up with it all, even without a cancer raging through my body.

The patient then presented to his GP with increasingly severe headaches. This went on for a while without much relief. A sweeling was eventually present around and behind the ear. Originally believed to be an abcess in the brain it was only when a biopsy was taken that it became clear a lymphoma was the cause. Appropriate treatment has therefore been started and when we visited him for the second time it was clear at least a small reduction in swelling had taken place.

Unfortunately it doesn’t look good. The tumor has spread through the skull bones and a mass is present in the brain. It is possible that treatment may be curative but it’ll be a long haul with multiple rounds of chemo. Fortunately he has relatively few symptoms at the moment. However for a middle aged man to be spending considerable time in hospital is understandably frustrating. I plan to keep track with his progress and see if there is any change.

A much wider reaching topic is the benefit of having good consultant teaching. This only happened on one of our sessions and the contrast is striking. Hopefully it’ll continue for the rest of the year but I don’t really think that’s likely.

I end the week as I started - with yet more blood. This time I’m actually taking it. Whilst it seems like such a simple and generally enjoyable job it suffers under the problems common in the NHS. I work no more and usually less than 8 hours a week. Today I spend a further 3 trying to be told how to do something we never even do. Worse than that, doing so in front of my immediate boss would lead to very disapproving words. It’s a growing circle of red tape. Tomorrow I look forward to a personal interview about some development plan to decide how I will enhance my skills. After how ever long that takes we’ll then still have to get the bloods done by 10:30. It’s no wonder people are fed up - we can’t even do the job we’re there to do. Sigh.

Uni , , , ,

  1. Jennifer
    January 21st, 2009 at 11:54 | #1


    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7839235.stm What are your thoughts? (Also, respond to me on facebook please….)

  2. February 16th, 2009 at 07:24 | #2

    As a Newbie, I am always searching online for articles that can help me. Thank you

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