MS-1 · psychiatry · surgery

Career development?

I just attended a talk about trauma surgery. It was less about what it’s actually like being a trauma surgeon (though he addressed that during the Q/A at the end) and more “This is what you need to do to pass your surgery boards.”

He also had a ton of frightening pictures of people with mangled body parts and poles sticking through them and whatnot. It was not a pleasant sight. Trauma surgery certainly sounds kind of cool, and I’m sure it’s incredibly rewarding, but I’m not exactly thrilled at the thought of gashes across faces.

There were several pictures of failed suicide attempts (slit wrists, one throat cut so deeply that they were able to intubate directly through the wound, etc.) which just reminded me of something a friend of mine, who used to work with a crisis hotline, told me. They got several calls about suicidal ideations, and once they established that it wasn’t an imminent danger and that the person really just needed to be talked out of it, they would “de-glamorize” suicide by talking about what would happen if it went wrong. Such as, “If you slit your wrists, you could end up with necrosis or sepsis in your fingers and would have to have them amputated.” Apparently it worked quite well.

What interests me more than the immediate surgical intervention is the longer-term psychiatric implications that would lead someone to suicide. As a matter of fact, I am going to the student section of a psychoanalysts’ conference on Saturday. Although of course I don’t know that I want to become an analyst, or even that I like psych that much (though on paper it sounds fascinating), I figure it can’t hurt to explore a little before third year. Also, this is New York City, where even analysts have analysts. It should be a good program.


3 thoughts on “Career development?

  1. i wonder if telling someone who is severely, suicidally depressed about sepsis or amputation would really have an effect on them…?? but then, who am i to say…??? all i know is it can be a r e a l l y dark place. i mean, if that’s what they said, it must be true…maybe you will get interested in psychiatry someday, that would be cool. take care.

  2. I love that you live in NYC and call psychiatrists “analysts”. Now, every time I read your blog, I am going to picture you as Murial Hemingway or Diane Keaton, straight out of a Woody Allen movie. And I thought your blog couldn’t get any better.

  3. Well, my friend said that they definitely first make sure that the person is not actually an imminent danger to themselves. And urging them to seek counseling is part of it, for sure.

    @ Katie: Ha! Some days, like today, my life really is like a Woody Allen movie. Although most psychiatrists aren’t analysts these days, due to medicinal interventions and the lack of insurance reimbursement for psychoanalysis. Then again, most New Yorkers don’t yap away in Brooklynese, either. =)

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