pneumothorax
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ATLANTA, GA – Sometimes getting thrown into the fire is the best way to learn.  At least that’s what July intern Timothy McDuffy thinks.  Less than 24 hours into his first day as a July intern, he is “absolutely stoked” and “beyond ready” to potentially cause his very first pneumothorax.

pneumothorax
“Look! My first complication, how exciting!”

“There is nothing that calms my soul more than knowing that I am just moments from causing my first of many terrible complications this coming year,” beamed McDuffy, hardly able to sit still while he talks with Gomerblog.  “We’re not perfect, we’re human beings, right?  I cannot tell you how long I’ve waited for this day.  To prove the very point to be true: that I have absolutely no clue why someone thinks I am qualified to hold this horrifically long needle.”

Arguably the best period in a doctor’s life is the transition from fourth-year medical student to intern, where a young doctor finally realizes, after 4 years of undergraduate training and 4 years of medical school, “Oh sh*t, what did I get into?!”  The joy is masked by fear-induced paralysis.

“I always wondered what would be my first complication,” remarked a very pensive but shaky McDuffy as he, with total lack of confidence, moves the wavering needle towards his perspiring and nervous patient’s back who is wondering why the hell McDuffy keeps talking out loud.  “Would it be an incorrect dose of medication?  Hitting the carotid artery on a central line approach?  Or flat-out misdiagnosing a patient?  As a July intern, the possibilities are endless!  But who knows, my moment might be right now!  Pneumothorax, baby!”

Those supervising McDuffy and his newly-dubbed “Class of Terrors” are not filled with the same level of enthusiasm or excitement.  That includes McDuffy’s senior resident Erica Butterworth who is seconds away from taking over the thoracentesis, much to her own relief and the patient’s.

“Just when you’ve finally learned to trust and feel comfortable with the skill set of a class of interns, in come the next batch of future law suits,” explained one Atlanta academic medical center program director whose name was inaudible due to his inconsolable sobbing.  “How is it July 1st already?  What have we all done to deserve this?!”

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