What would you do if your Easter Holiday plans got messed up because your fiancé got Covid? When life gives you lemons, you make LEMONADE!
Shortly before the break, I had the opportunity to participate in the OR for a lumbar microdiscectomy and a cervical laminectomy. So here is my observation of the non-glamorised life of Dr George Hadjigeorgiou, a renowned neurosurgeon, Assistant Professor at the School of Medicine in EUC (European University Cyprus) and Coordinator of Neurosurgery and Neurosciences. Dr Hadjigeorgiou specializes in endoscopic pituitary surgery, neuro-oncology, and minimally invasive spinal surgery, practicing in both Greece (Athens Medical Center) and Cyprus (Apollonion Private Hospital).
Instructed to be present at 5PM, I arrived half an hour earlier to make sure I would not be late. There, I was directed to Dr Hadjigeorgiou’s office and was able to observe consultations. I was amazed at how fast and concise a consultation is. In this era of Covid, as our facial expressions are hidden by a mask, eye contact was key. Multiple tools were used to help the patients (and their entourage if accompanied) understand their conditions. For instance, MRI images, X-rays, or anatomical models were displayed to ease their visualisation. Through this, I was able to see how crucial it is, to not only know our course lesson, but master it. As the exceptions, the whys and hows will all make sense.
Around 5:45PM, after changing to my disposable scrub, I went to the first room of the OR. There, the patient was already prepped. I was making sure, of course, not to touch anything, nor disturb the medical staff who was kind enough to explain to me what was going on. There, I was with a fifth-year medical student, who instructed me on what not to touch and where to be placed. If I had to describe it in one sentence, I would say, I was amazed! Amazed by how many people are evolved in the operation room, how multidisciplinary the people in the room are and how physically demanding it is for the neurosurgeons to stay focused on their task. Indeed, it was a wonderful team effort from 6 professionals. While Dr George Hadjigeorgiou, and another neurosurgeon were doing the procedure, the nurse was handling the tools, the anesthetist checking on the state of the patient, and two medical technicians were monitoring the muscle nerve activity of the patient and updating the doctors. The first lumbar microdiscectomy took around 1h from the time the patient was prepped. The cervical laminectomy was postponed to the next day.
I cannot stress enough how beneficial this experience was. This article is for me as well as any inspiring and current medical students. I would like to personally thank Dr George Hadjigeorgiou for his generous invitation, opening his office to me and allowing me to write this article.
Be curious, be bold and continue learning because an incredible opportunity could be waiting for you !!