Practice in the real world. Redundancies: Say it again and again

Practice in the real world. Redundancies: Say it again and again

Apr 01, 2006

Melinda Davis punched at the incision with her left hand and reversed the sponge to reveal its scarlet moisture.

"Drat", she said to no one in particular. "I must have given Millie too much atropine. I hope she isn't in heat when I get inside."

Krys Kelley looked on with some concern.

"Are you all right, Doc?"

"Yeah, we just need to watch this patient. We also need to make sure that we use something besides an NSAID for post-surgical pain."

"Duly noted," Krys said. "Speaking of pain, I need to take off tomorrow to go to the tooth dentist."

Dr. Davis laughed. "Hey girl, that's redundant!"

"What do you mean?

"I mean that the word 'tooth' is unnecessary. We know where you're goin' without using the word 'tooth' ".

Krys thought about that for a minute and responded. "Well, since grade school, we have all been told that people are animals. With that line of reasoning, is the term 'animal doctor' redundant, and should it refer to physicians or veterinarians?"

Melinda chuckled and then laughed.

She had never really thought about it in that way. She marveled at her assistant's insight. "Touché!"

Melinda went back to her work. The exertion of separating the dog from her uterus was starting to fog the glasses that were perched over her surgical mask. She stopped. In a few moments the haze started to clear. As it cleared, she immediately noticed that "Millie's" oximeter reading was getting too low.

"Krys, check Millie's gums, please."

"They look OK to me!"

"Pull out her tongue."

Krys noticed it then. "The tongue is turning blue, Doc."

"What is the flow rate?"

Krys became agitated.

"Krys what is going on here?" Melinda demanded.

"There isn't a flow rate," Krys screamed.

It immediately dawned on the both of them that the oxygen tank was no longer delivering the elixir of life. Both veterinarian and assistant went into emergency mode. Melinda was thinking a mile a minute and finally decided to stay scrubbed. The surgical ward suddenly was turned upside down with activity.

"Millie's" ovaries had been removed, but the uterus was yet to be extracted and the stump secured. Without the oxygen, there was no accompanying delivery of anesthetic. Millie would either die from lack of oxygen or would come up out of anesthesia with her insides erupting from the incision like a pulsing volcano. Decisions had to be made and had to be made right now.

After what seemed like an eternity, Melinda croaked out a horse and almost imperceptible question. "Do we have any E tanks that we can connect to the anesthetic machine?"

Alice Warren, who had been working in the ward, answered from across the other room before Krys could answer.

"No, Doc. On top of that, the tank connection has been broken for some time. We just use the H tank, but it just ran out!"

"Grab some valium and ketamine, and let me try to finish Millie up as best I can," came the strained reply from the frantic veterinarian.

Before Alice could arrive to get further instruction as to the dosage, Millie was starting to thrash about in spite of her hypoxia.