MEDICAL CHRONICLES|11b| VACTERL ASSOCIATION

STILL TUESDAY THE 12th.

It was about time for the procedure so I got up and headed back to the OR. 
Preliminary procedures were going on. Sasha, the Serbian came in. He’s this guy in glasses I always see around. Zdenko wore glasses too but his tag read his name/Slovakia (just to give you a mental picture ?)
He had the student tag on but, we did not speak often. He asked if I knew what procedure was about to go down (there’s a schedule we’re all familiar with but it could be interchanged). I reassured him it was the VACTERL association. “Do you know what it means?”
Oh my! I had this “brush my shoulders off” moment cos, I had been studying about it when I took a break. I felt glad that this wasn’t going to be one of those “embarrassing” moments when you’re in an OR and do not know what you’re there for. I began: V.A.C.T.E… I froze. It was happening again.
Not because I crammed it or anything.
For a long while, I’ve struggled with memory issues but if that
 comes up, it’d be in a journal for another edition. He told me what it was and after that day, I had to keep looking at it.
So today, without running to a text somewhere, VACTERL association is 

Vertebral deformations, Anal Atresia, Cardiac defects, TransEsophageal fistula, Renal defects, Limb deformations/defects.
It is called VACTERL association when 3 or more of these are characteristic features are present.
Dr. Eva Amerstorfer was carrying out manipulations to correct A. Anal atresia and she so willingly explained it to me.
Dr. Eva is an amazing person and then a really brilliant surgeon. She reminds me of Dr. Montgomery of Grey’s Anatomy; phenotypically speaking and before you say NO!!! I wasn’t the only one who saw that ?. She’s so down to earth and she almost always, has this smile that says, “come to me, you’re welcome”.

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She was done and we all kept waiting for Dr. Till. Remember him from this post?
He was to oversee an endoscopy on the same baby.

While we waited, Sasha got talking with one of the residents who was an Indian guy. Oh my, talk about an intelligent medical conversation??? It was going on while I was just wondering what in the name of God I had been learning and doing with my time. At first, I felt intimidated; a little bit ?then I felt really challenged. I didn’t feel so terrible after I learned Sasha was not just a student but had begun his practice in a paediatric hospital in Serbia. There was also a resident from the O&G department whom I mistook for a student like me; 3times ??

He came in and I was glad to see him. I think I was always glad to see them.
Uni.Prof.Dr. Holger Till
They did what they needed to do and I didn’t stop asking questions.
Before they continued, he drew out a disposable “cloth”. He asked for a pen and began explaining the transoesophageal fistula procedure with diagrams. I was a little intimidated because apparently, I was the only one without a clue as to what was going on. I didn’t read up those of course.

For the first time, I had my notepad in my surgery wear. I brought it out and I jotted; even the things I did not understand at the moment. He began sharing his own general experience and the awesome collaboration with a Dr. Foker. This new method of transoesophageal fistula management is actually called the Foker method. He shared experiences of their trials, how they waited all night to be sure the new method didn’t kill a baby, the joy in finding an improved (tef) management and the setbacks they eventually faced.

Boy! He is another down to earth person/doctor/professor/supervisor. I was just in awe of how hard he worked and how patient he could be with students. He didn’t even mind learning a procedure from a resident. It was just a great moment of learning.

For any medics reading, if you’re subscribed to the blog’s newsletter, I’d send in the 3 forms of the association. This is good stuff cos, I haven’t seen it elsewhere and I’m hoping I could still ask a question about this. When I find out more about it, I’d send this in a newsletter. Ok?

This made up for being booted out of surgery and by now, I felt a lot better.
I attended the day’s lecture on BURNS. It was a great lecture with a great delivery style.
Unfortunately, that day, I took a bus which had a longer route unknown me. It wasn’t exactly pleasant cos by the time I rerouted, I got beaten by the rain but, God showed up and actually reduced the rain just as I asked for that.
Long journey people. I left home at 6am this day, returned at 7pm, went to bed at about 1 or 2am, unsure of the new day, tired but thankful.

xx

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