MASS. GENERAL HOSPITAL – Dr. Hannah Richards, a 3rd year surgical resident, was 39+0 weeks pregnant going into Thursday. She scrubbed into Dr. Alexander’s hemicolectomy with lymph node dissection, a great case for her log.
“This was a good case, I was contracting earlier in the day and thought it was due to my decreased water intake. My plan was to drink a ton of water after the surgery,” Hannah told reporters.
Once the case entered hour 3, her contractions started to get closer together and she had the circulating nurse page OB. “I thought that was an odd request considering we were working on a male patient, but what do I know,” OR nurse Jane Minnows recalled.
The OB-GYN resident came, scrubbed into the current case, and Hannah promptly informed them of the situation: “Contractions are 2 minutes apart and I think my water just broke.” Hannah then spread her legs as if she was going to ride a horse, simultaneously holding the retractor keeping an excellent exposure for Dr. Alexander.
In an unprecedented delivery, just 3 pushes while standing, Hannah pushed her baby out. Miraculously there was no tear and moments later, the after birth was removed, and sent to pathology (hopefully not to the hospital cafeteria). Hannah straightened up, switched hands, and continued to retract. Her attending Dr. Jim Alexander complained, “Your exposure has been terrible! Okay now it is a little better,” referring to the 10 minutes she was in labor that went unnoticed. “Hannah, you need to anticipate my next move and be aware of your surroundings!” He went on to constructively criticize her.
“I’m sorry…(whew, whew), I’ll pay better attenenn(whew)ntion next time,” Dr. Richards eeked out, still recovering from the delivery.
Dr. Richards declined skin-to-skin and forced her 3rd year medical student to hold the baby. “Samantha, why don’t you de-scrub and get some skin-to-skin with the baby. Oh and I was hoping to breastfeed Q3 hours, so get on that too.”
On the way out the door before the end of the surgery, Dr. Alexander chimed in, “Oh Hannah, make sure you close with sutures instead of staples… and what the hell is all this blood on the floor. My blood loss is never more that 50 cc. Hannah, we have to work on your retraction skills and situational awareness! Let’s start rounds early at 5:30am tomorrow.”
“Will do Dr. Alexander! Thanks for the great case.”