I've been too caught up in sports to mention that I'm at Cook County Hospital (now known as Stroger) doing a cardiology rotation. I have to say interventional cardiologists get to do some really cool cases. Nothing like taking a person with a heart attack to the cath lab and opening up the patient's vessels and, quite possibly, saving his/her life. There is a certain adrenaline rush that pervades the air when you hang out with interventional cardiologists.
In addition, the attendings at County are like walking encyclopedias of cardiology. One thing that impresses me about County is that no matter how busy everyone is, education is taken very seriously. Teaching conferences are like religion there, and everyone is excused from clinical duties to attend lectures.
The other thing that strikes you about County is that it could have easily been lifted from some city in India or Pakistan. A large percentage of the doctors are of South Asian ethnicity, and you can bust out in Urdu/Hindi or English to discuss your patients. Thing is, I'm convinced these docs have all memorized Harrison's. I was listening to a noon lecture one day on drug therapy for cardiac patients. The lecture was so good, I thought it was being given by a cardiologist, and later I found out that it was an internist who gave the talk. Just gives you a sense of the level of education of the attending physicians.
Rounds are also very educational. I am on the consult service, so for every case, the attendings ask us to interpret EKGs and come up with our impression and recommendations. And they are always teaching in the process.
Of course, the most memorable thing about County are the patients. From drug abusers with failing heart valves whose legs are handcuffed to their beds, to patients that speak no English, whose eyes dart around nervously, unsure of what ails them and uneasy about what it is we are doing to them.
There is also comedy amidst the drama - on Friday, there was a "code red" for a fire that was apparently started by a patient who was smoking in bed (smoking in the hospital is totally forbidden), who then ran out of the room, without bothering to tell anyone that the room was on fire. Luckily someone noticed and actually did something about it (not a given at County) and the fire was quickly contained...just another day...
This week will be my last at County and it's been a blast. My next rotation will be ID at St. James (Olympia Fields) which should be a nice break...the commute to County ranges from 1.5 to 2 hours thanks to rush hour. I can't wait til the day cars will drive themselves...