Want to help with a surgery? Come on over

I was chatting with a friend the other day and realized that a few things. 1) I have a lot of strange conversations about random things, and 2) you might enjoy hearing about them.  So you can expect “conversations” to become regular a feature on the blog.

I was just chatting with a German friend who had the chance to help perform a surgery in one of the hospitals a few days ago. Yes, you read that right. It sounds pretty crazy, but at least she is a med student. The surgery itself went fairly well, it was a hemi-colectomy and they removed a good-sized tumor successfully, so you can breathe a bit easier.

What was interesting about the conversation was all of the little things she noticed that made her pray that she never need a surgery during her time in China. For one it was a little worrying that they let a random person in just because they said they were a med student. She also noted that the Doctors just briefly washed their hands with dish soap, and shared a towel to dry off before starting the operation.

After the four-hour surgery they offered my friend the opportunity to practice her stitching, which was exciting for her since she had never tried it before. She was then given the great honor of completing the final step of a surgery, showing the family what exactly you took out of their father/brother/husband. So they placed the tumor in a plastic bag and marched it out to the waiting family.

I had heard of this practice before, and I still find it pretty strange. My German friend thinks that actually it is a very helpful for the family to see that the illness is over. I think that it might be scary to see how real the threat to your loved one was.

The final bit, and perhaps the most concerning was that apparently the hospital had not run extensive tests to determine the stage of the cancer before operating. So even though I work in a large, and generally excellent hospital, I am in full agreement with my friend about avoiding surgery in China at all costs.

2 responses to “Want to help with a surgery? Come on over”

  1. angelina says:

    so you would you suggest a pregnant wife of an American teacher not to deliver in China?

    • Tom says:

      It depends a lot on where you are living, in bigger cities it would probably have a comparable outcome with a western hospital, but it wouldn’t be nearly as comfortable. Chinese hospitals are constantly overflowing with patients, and so delivery is done as quickly as possible with little concern for “birthing experience”.

      So yes it is probably safe, but my wife and I have chose not to have a child while we are in China.

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