BALTIMORE, MD – The Hoppin’ Johns University anesthesiologist Dr. James Keane proudly admits that despite being in practice for over 20 years he still can’t really tell apart the trachea and esophagus, among other things, and is “sort of just winging it.”
“Have you guys ever looked down there? There’s a lotta sh*t in that part of the neck, you know?” Keane told Gomerblog in a very candid interview. “I usually can figure out the tongue, on a good day maybe the epiglottis. But you mean to tell me that my colleagues can tell the difference between the true and false vocal cords? Right, I don’t think so. I can’t be the only one being fooled.”
On any given day, it’s 50/50 when it comes to having the endotracheal tube end up in the trachea versus the esophagus; that’s just the nature of his style. He says that when he commits to a guess, he always holds up his hands with fingers crossed. “I’m not a religious person,” he said, “but I always make the sign of the cross once it’s secured in the trachea.”
All of the textbooks in his office appear dusty but untouched. As we flip through his books on anesthesiology, it’s clear that we’re the first ones to have ever opened them.
“You’d think after all these years I’d get the hang out of it, but not really,” he confessed, shrugging his shoulders whenever we came across laryngeal anatomy. “But maybe that’s what drives me. There’s something about the thrill of not knowing what’s going to happen in there, and I kind of like that. Seriously, every single time I go in there, the first thing I think is, ‘How is this not the rectum?’ The human body is an amazing thing.”
We asked Keane what he could tell us about the arytenoids but he replied that he doesn’t know much about modern rock bands.
“Maybe you know,” Keane asked us. “Can you tell me who the hell this Mallampati guy is? I keep hearing his name, but have no idea what my colleagues are talking about.”