Appendectomy…

…This evening, we were called back to the hospital to observe an emergency appendectomy. When we arrived, we helped the senior technician prepare what they call the OT (Operating Theater). We retrieved the reusable gowns and equipment from a steaming hot autoclave, descended down ramps (there are no elevators) to the basement, removed our shoes, put on slippers, and entered the OT. The patient was already lying on the table with his IV hanging next to him. He remained silent for the next 20 minutes as dozens of tools, sutures, gowns, and vials were prepared. The anesthesiologist entered next and administered spinal anesthesia through a terrifying looking 9cm needle.

The OT was kept unusually hot for this procedure using portable electric heaters with built in fans. With everything prepared and draped, the surgeon entered and scrubbed in. The procedure was much less invasive than I had anticipated. About a 2 inch incision was made right of the patient’s navel at a slight angle from vertical. We watched as the internal oblique muscle, in an attempt to preserve the strength of the abdominal wall, was split and not cut at a right angle to the first incision. After some pulling and tearing, the appendix and some intestine were brought out of the body where work to close off and cut out the appendix was performed. The doctor generously described each action he performed and educated us at every opportunity.

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