Friday, November 12, 2010

Anesthesiologist Quirks

Anesthesiologists are lone wolves. Unlike surgeons who may go in and out of each other's operating rooms to chit chat or observe and assist cases, anesthesiologists pretty much work in isolation. You will rarely find an anesthesiologist walk into a colleague's room to observe their anesthesia technique. When I was in residency I had no idea how I performed relative to my peers. I may hear about some mishap during M&M Conference or rarely a word of praise from an attending but in general we kept to our own rooms and ourselves. What we did in the OR's was known only to our attendings and the staff in the room.

So I find it interesting now when nurses will come up to me and ask why one of my partners will do something they find out of the norm. Recently a nurse asked me about one of our new doctors, "Dr. Z, why is it that Dr. Pfeiffer mixes an ampule of Dilaudid into every syringe of propofol that he draws up?" My first reaction was, hmmm. The only good answer that I could give was, "That must be how he was trained. As long as the patient wakes up without complications, there's nothing wrong with that." The nurse seemed satisfied with that and it has never been brought up again.

Nurses have come up to me and commented about all kinds of conduct. For instance, why does one of our anesthesiologists refuse to let them help put the ECG leads and BP cuffs on a patient? He goes into a tirade when they help him get the patient ready for a case. I have no idea. They've mentioned that one of us likes to pull the IV pole to a height where it literally touches the ceiling of the operating room. Does that help the IV run faster? Sure, but again unusual and bemusing to the nurses. Then there is the anesthesiologist who likes to play house and dance music in the operating room. He sometimes even brings a miniature disco ball into the operating room to lighten up the atmosphere.

Again these are all reports I have received from the nurses. I of course am too focused on my own patient to notice these quirky behaviors. But as long as the patients are safe, who's to say what a "normal" anesthesiologist's practice is?

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